OTTAWA, March 22, 2013 /Canada NewsWire/ - On March 26, 2013, the plaintiffs in two landmark fraud cases to be heard by the Supreme Court of Canada, will finally get their day in Canada's top court. The victims of the fraud, a small business owner from Illinois and a church group from California, suffered a combined loss of $2.2 million. These actions were commenced against Toronto businessman, Robert Hryniak, for his role in a fraudulent investment scheme that targeted elderly American investors, and for these victims an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada will give them the opportunity to finally share their story on a national platform.
The Court will hear two appeals from the Ontario Court of Appeal (Mauldin et al v. Cassels Brock et al., 34641 and Bruno Appliance and Furniture Inc. v. Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP et al., 34645) to decide whether the victims of the alleged fraud can obtain their much-needed restitution by summary judgment - a means of deciding cases that do not require a trial, by way of motion - without having to bear the lengthy and extremely costly trial process.
In the lower court, Hryniak was found to have perpetrated his fraudulent investment scheme by disbursing his victims' funds to his own company through the trust accounts of Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP, one of Canada's oldest and largest law firms, and summary judgment was granted against him.
Justice Grace did not mince words, finding that "the threads of dishonesty" were "everywhere", and that Mr. Hryniak's efforts to defend his actions were akin to "pouring water on a grease fire" - rather than douse the flames, "an inferno ensued". In his effort to bring swift restitution to these victims, Justice Grace granted summary judgment against Mr. Hryniak, stating "at least for today, his dodging and weaving stops here."
The victims, however, have yet to receive a penny of compensation from Hryniak. The Ontario Court of Appeal reviewed Justice Grace's decisions in December 2011, affirming his conclusions in favour of the Mauldin plaintiffs, but reversing the Bruno decision on technical grounds. While the Court was satisfied that Mr. Hryniak had improperly taken Bruno Appliance's investment for his own purposes, it was not prepared to uphold the summary judgment in the Bruno action, and directed a full trial of the issues.
Bruno Appliance and Hryniak were both granted leave to appeal the Court of Appeal's decisions to the Supreme Court of Canada, which will hear arguments on March 26, 2013 at the Supreme Court of Canada Building in Ottawa, Ontario.