Party complains about receiving confidential information of non-parties. What next?

28 Jan

On January 24th, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice held that a plaintiff did not breach the deemed undertaking rule by complaining to a professional body (the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario) that the defendants had produced documents containing their former clients’ confidential information.

Though the Court doubted that the plaintiff’s motives were pure, it held that he did not breach the deemed undertaking rule because his use of the production was done with the affected clients’ consent. The Court stressed that it was not deciding whether the defendants’ production was proper, but also said that a privacy-related complaint about producing documents pursuant to the Rules is “remarkable on its face.”

Two questions: (1) Is the deemed undertaking finding consistent with case law that recognizes that the undertaking gives rise to a duty owed to the court for the benefit of the parties?(2) Were the clients’ identities relevant, or could identifying information have been redacted without causing an improper production?

Martenfeld v Collins Barrow Toronto LLP, 2010 ONSC 598.

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