Montreal

Quebec's highest court rejects Plante's request to throw out Formula E lawsuit

The court of appeal agreed with the Quebec Superior Court's decision that this lawsuit did not amount to a SLAPP.

Lawsuit against city over cancelled ePrix races can go ahead

Sébastien Buemi, of Switzerland, checks the damage to his car after crashing during the second practice session at the Montreal Formula ePrix electric car race, in Montreal on Saturday, July 29, 2017. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

The Quebec Court of Appeal has rejected Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante's request to throw out a lawsuit against the city over cancelled Formula E races.

Formula E Operations, which puts on electric car races around the world, sued the city after Plante cancelled plans to host races in 2018 and 2019.

Her predecessor, Denis Coderre, first brought Formula E to the city in 2017. Plante decided to cancel the upcoming races after being elected mayor that same year.

The race through the streets of Montreal was criticized for its lack of transparency and low ticket sales.

Plante argued the lawsuit amounted to a strategic lawsuit against public participation, also known as SLAPP.

However, the province's highest court agreed with the Quebec Superior Court's decision that this lawsuit did not amount to a SLAPP.

"It is rather commercial in nature," wrote Justice Stephen W. Hamilton in his decision, noting the company is seeking monetary damages.

PricewaterhouseCoopers, the appointed trustee of the bankrupt non-profit created by the city to manage the race, is also named in the decision.

However, the trustee of Montréal, c'est électrique withdrew from the lawsuit against the city in February, citing, among other reasons, a lack of funds.

The lawsuit seeks $33 million from the city. However, Radio-Canada has learned that Formula E is now only seeking $16 million.

With files from Radio-Canada

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