PEI

Supreme Court rules in P.E.I. government's favour in $150M e-gaming lawsuit

P.E.I. Supreme Court Justice Gordon Campbell has for a second time ruled in government's favour in a multi-million dollar lawsuit stemming from the province's e-gaming affair.

Company says it will appeal

The plaintiffs failed to substantiate their allegations against the defendants, says P.E.I. Supreme Court Justice Gordon Campbell in the decision. (Sarah MacMillan/CBC)

P.E.I. Supreme Court Justice Gordon Campbell has for a second time ruled in government's favour in a multi-million dollar lawsuit stemming from the province's e-gaming affair.

Capital Markets Technologies filed a statement of claim in March 2017 — the second such claim filed by the company — alleging government was in breach of contract with regards to a plan to set up a financial service centre to process online transactions.

The allegations stemmed from a memorandum of understanding signed between government and a subsidiary of CMT in July of 2012. Efforts to set up a financial services centre in the province came in the wake of the province's and Mi'kmaq Confederacy's failed attempt to establish P.E.I. as a regulator for online gambling.

Their allegations were without any factual basis.— Justice Gordon Campbell

Lawyers for government and the various other defendants named in the suit all filed for summary judgement, asking the judge to rule in their favour without having the case proceed to an actual trial.

"Upon hearing the motions and reviewing all submissions, the court found there were no genuine issues requiring a trial," wrote Campbell in his decision, issued to parties in the suit Wednesday.

"The plaintiffs have failed completely to substantiate their allegations against the defendants. It is due to the complete lack of any credible or reliable evidentiary basis for the plaintiffs' claims that they are being dismissed in their entirety."

'Scandalous allegations'

A previous statement of claim from the company filed in 2015 was also dismissed by Campbell, who in that decision called the suit "a long, rambling narrative replete with irrelevant and immaterial facts" and an abuse of the court process.

In that decision Campbell did provide the company with an option to refile.

But this time Campbell provided no such option for the plaintiffs, saying the new statement of claim was "substantially the same as the original," repeating many of the same faults.

"It's not as if the plaintiffs came close to proving the serious and scandalous allegations they made, but fell just short," Campbell wrote in his decision throwing out the second lawsuit.

"Their allegations were without any factual basis."

'We look forward to the truth coming out'

CMT president Paul Maines sent a brief statement to CBC News after receiving the court's decision, vowing to take the case to the P.E.I. Court of Appeal.

'We will be appealing the decision immediately,' says Paul Maines, the president of CMT. (Kerry Campbell/CBC)

"We will be appealing the decision immediately," Maines said, claiming government lawyers had failed to produce documents relevant to the case which CMT is now trying to obtain through freedom of information.

"We look forward to the truth coming out."

CMT was seeking $150 million in its most recent claim, which named the P.E.I. government along with a list of specific individuals that was both added to and subtracted from after the claim was filed. 

That list included the province's former finance minister Wes Sheridan and eventually former premier Robert Ghiz.

Besides the allegation that government was in breach of contract, CMT also made allegations of "spoliation of evidence" with regards to government emails which were deleted.

Campbell concluded certain email accounts were eliminated "in the regular course of business" as individuals left government service. He ruled there was no reasonable basis to infer that was done "with any intention to affect the outcome of this current litigation."

Campbell ordered costs for the defendants be paid from security CMT was required to put forward before the most recent statement of claim was allowed to be filed.

The company had initially paid more than a million dollars in security. Some of that was paid out after CMT dropped Paul Jenkins, one of the defendants originally named in the suit.

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