Nova Scotia high court scolds frequent litigants
Latest case involves Wanda Cummings, plaintiff in at least 11 legal actions
For the second time in as many weeks, Nova Scotia's highest court is moving to quash long, protracted legal actions by someone who spends a great deal of time before the courts.
This time the focus of the Court of Appeal is Wanda Cummings, a plaintiff in at least 11 cases in Nova Scotia in the last three years.
"There has been a plague of cases in this court and lower courts wherein litigants appear to engage the judicial assets of this province for a purpose other than to resolve legitimate legal disputes," Justice Ted Scanlan wrote in a decision released Wednesday that ended Cummings' latest legal action.
Cummings' legal battles began with a series of actions she and another woman launched against a Prince Edward Island company, Belfast Mini-Mills.
She has also sued the provincial attorney general, the federal attorney general, the Nova Scotia Public Prosecution Service and the Halifax Regional Municipality. Most of her lawsuits have been dismissed.
In the decision released Wednesday, Scanlan wrote: "The processes in place are not intended to provide a forum for justice participants to embark upon a mind-numbing series of applications and appeals without regard to the merits or costs."
Scanlan also noted that Cummings has been turned down by the Supreme Court of Canada.
"She is equally undeterred by the anvil dropped by the Supreme Court of Canada on May 15, 2014," Scanlan wrote, "when that court refused leave to appeal a decision of this court."
In his decision, Scanlan also mentioned two other people who are frequent litigants in Nova Scotia courts.
Ralph Ivan Doncaster has been the subject of at least 36 decisions in various Nova Scotia courts over the last couple of years.
In that time, he's battled with his ex-wife, the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board, the Halifax Regional Municipality and various provincial government departments. Doncaster also has a number of outstanding cases still making their way through the courts.
Just last week, the Court of Appeal ruled against a third person who is a very frequent litigant. Guo Yi Liu has been waging a protracted legal battle against his former employer, Composites Atlantic Limited.
The court accepted a request from the company to end Liu's latest litigation.
Scanlan wrote in the decision that it was time for Liu, Doncaster and Cummings to be "shown the door." The judge added: "This case would do nothing more than chew up, and waste, the scarce resources of this province and this court."