Today the Court of Appeal for Ontario has released its decision in the civil lawsuit between Morris Waxman and his brother Chester Waxman, along with related lawsuits and countersuits.
The Court of Appeal has found squarely for the plaintiff Morris Waxman and his son Michael and has dismissed the appeal of Chester Waxman, with a few minor variations (see below). The Court agrees with the June 27, 2002 decision of Madame Justice Mary Anne Sanderson that Chester and his sons Robert, Warren and Gary cheated Morris and his sons of their half of the family business I. Waxman and Sons and various related businesses. The Appeal Court is even complimentary toward the work of Justice Sanderson who had to sort through many complicated issues in a tangled story. The value of the decision could be worth about $50-million to Morris and his family since Chester’s side will have to give back to Morris his 50 per cent stake in the company as well as half the profits earned since the early 1980s, that included the lucrative sale of the business to Philip Environmental.
The decision runs 160 pages long and took almost two years for the Appeal Court judges to determine. This is appropriate enough given that the original verdict ran 440 pages, and was the culmination of 14 years of civil litigation capped by a 200-day trial between warring factions of the country’s most prominent scrap-recycling family. (The affair has been described as the longest civil action in Ontario history.) Chester’s side will have to pay Morris’s side tens of millions of dollars.
Judges D. Doherty, John Laskin and S.T. Goudge state:
“As indicated at the outset, we agree with the trial judge’s disposition except in minor ways”
“Despiteminor variations, overall we have found the trial judge’s reasons thorough, lucid and fully reasoned. Our repeating reading of them in the course of preparing our own reasons have amply enhanced this view. The trial reasons represent a significant achievement at the end of a long and complex proceeding.
“As we leave this case two impressions linger: the tragedy of a family shattered and the service accorded to the administration of justice by counsel and a trial judge who, in difficult circumstances, performed their roles in exemplary fashion.
The Court of Appeals dismissed the appeals save in some limited respects. The Court mentioned that the parties have not yet addressed the issue of costs and has invited counsel to do so by written submissions. Before filing those submissions, counsel are to meet with Goudge J.A., who will determine the appropriate procedure.
The minor variations the Court found were as follows:
Robert, Warren and Gary are liable for only one half of the 1981 and 1982 bonuses that they received: see para. 556.
Chester, IWS and Robert and his companies are liable for only one half of the amounts ordered by the trial judge in relation to the Greycliffe profit diversions: see para. 567.
The order for damages in relation to the Ancaster property is set aside: see para. 570.
Robert, Warren and Gary are liable for only one half of the post sale profits that they received: see para. 587.
Ennis is liable for all losses flowing to Morris from having been deprived of a fifty per cent interest in IWS and from the lease, only to the end of January 1985: see para. 670.
Linton is liable for only one half of the amounts ordered in relation to the Greycliffe profit diversions: see para. 747.
Solid Waste & Recycling magazine will publish a detailed article about the decision in the next edition (June/July).
Readers can a summary of the issues of the trial and the original decision by visiting the website at www.solidwastemag.com
Under the “search” button, readers can access an editorial (“The Waxman Decision,” August/September 2002 edition).
Click here to download the full text PDF document of the Court of Appeals decision. (1.4MB)