Saskatchewan

Input Capital lauds appeal court's decision to set aside ruling that found contracts 'unconscionable'

A Regina-based company is applauding a court decision that set aside an earlier ruling calling its practices 'unconscionable.'
Input Capital provided a Sask. farmer with $4.5 million in payments in exchange for canola that wasn't delivered. The terms of the contract were deemed 'unconscionable,' but the Court of Appeal reversed the ruling. (Rob Kruk/CBC)

One hurdle is out of the way for Regina-based Input Capital Corporation (ICC) after the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal dismissed an earlier court decision which deemed an ICC contract unfair and "unconscionable."

The company had entered into agreements with Terry Gustafson in 2014 and 2015 where they provided him $4.5 million in upfront payment for a fixed amount of future canola crop, but nothing substantial was returned to the company.

"We believed all along, of course, that our contracts and our deals with farmers are completely fair and reasonable and we have 400 clients that for the most part all believe the same thing as well," Doug Emsley, president and CEO of the company, said on Monday. 

"I'm happy that the decision is finally out now and we can move on with this contract and with this individual and close off this account."

In May 2018 when a Court of Queen's Bench Justice ruled the contract between Gustafson and ICC was unfair. That ruling was successfully appealed in a decision released Aug. 16.

Tony Merchant, a Regina lawyer whose company is representing farmers in a class-action lawsuit against the company in a separate case, said the decision provides more clarity for future litigation.

"The Court of Appeal held that the conduct of Input did not reach the level of an 'unconscionable' transaction but that that's not a vindication of Input methods," Merchant said on Monday.

Merchant said he is still confident that the class action suit against Input can be successfully argued in court.

"[Gustafson has] only got one avenue avenue open to him to pursue, and that's to seek leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada," said Gord Kuski, Gustafson's lawyer.

The deadline is Oct. 15.

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