Russell Robertson Associate
Russell practices in the areas of commercial and civil litigation, with a focus on complex commercial matters, large scale insurance claims or injury cases, and appeals. Russell regularly appears before the Supreme Court of British Columbia, the Court of Appeal, and various regulatory boards and tribunals. Russell has also written articles on limitations periods and administrative practice and has recently completed the Inns of Court program.
After graduating with his Juris Doctor from the University of Victoria Russell clerked with the Federal Court of Canada for one year. He then completed his articles and practiced for a period of time at a major National law firm. Russell then moved his practice to a local litigation firm in downtown Vancouver where he focused on commercial litigation including contract disputes, real estate and construction litigation, as well as shareholder and other corporate disputes.
0769449 B.C. Ltd. v. Vancouver Fraser Port Authority,  F.C.J. No. 257: In this proceeding, the applicant trucking company’s licence to transport shiping containers had been terminated and it sought to challenge the Port Authority’s decision. The name of the decision-maker was not provided in either the suspension or termination decisions. While the trucking company was trying to discover the name of the decision maker, the 30-day deadline for commencing a judicial review lapsed, and as a result the Port sought to dismiss the proceeding. The Federal Court ruled in the trucking company’s favour. The trucking company was entitled to know who made the termination decision and could not have known the name of the decision-maker unless the port authority provided it. The Port Authority refused to perform its duty to provide the name. As the name of the decision-maker had since been disclosed, mandamus was no longer an appropriate remedy. The trucking company was given an extension of time to commence a judicial review of the decision.
Badesha v. Snowland Sporting Goods Ltd.,  B.C.J. No. 289: In this action concerning the breach of a real estate transaction, we successfully repelled an application by the Defendants to intiate complicated Third Party proceedings long after the litigation had commenced. The issues in dispute in the original action differed from those in dispute between the defendant and the third parties. The issues of alleged fraud and negligence on the part of the realtor in the proposed Third Party proceeding were separate and distinct and can only be properly determined after the issues in the original action have been decided. There would be prejudice to the plaintiff, because the trial date would be lost. The application was dismissed by a Supreme Court Master. A chambers Judge dismissed the Defendant’s appeal because the Defendant had provided no satisfactory explanation of the delay in filing the third party notice, and the plaintiffs had done all in their power to move the case along promptly to trial.
Luft v. Ball, 2013 BCSC 81: Acted as junior counsel in successfully defending an application for contempt against our client and a corporate defendant. The plaintiff and the defendant each held 50 per cent of the subject company and were the only directors. The plaintiffs alleged that the defendants had embezzled funds from the company. A previous court order required the company to prepare audited financial statements. The company did not have sufficient funds to pay an auditor. The plaintiffs pointed to the fact that over $300,000 had been recorded as due from the defendant shareholder to the company. The defendants alleged this entry was an error. The court dismissed the plaintiffs’ application for contempt. In the case of an order for payment of money, the plaintiff alleging contempt had to establish, beyond a reasonable doubt, not only that the defendant deliberately breached an order of which it had notice, but that the defendant had the capacity to pay the amount. Here, there was no doubt that the company and the defendant director had knowledge of the order which clearly and unequivocally required the company to pay for an auditor. However, the uncertainty regarding the $300,000 and the undisputed fact that the company had not operated since 2010 raised a reasonable doubt that it had the ability to pay for the audit.
IDSS Enterprises Ltd. v. Dynasty P.G. & Grandsons Holding Inc., 2012 BCSC 1246: Acted as junior counsel at trial advancing a claim for unpaid monies owing under a share purchase agreement. The defendant had filed a counterclaim of over $2 million. The plaintiff and the defendant were companies in partnership. The defendant agreed to buy out the plaintiff's interest. They signed a handwritten agreement that referred to an equal division of accounts receivable and accounts payable up to the date of the agreement. On the following day, they signed a share purchase agreement that referred instead to an equal division of "profits" and "liabilities" up to the date of the agreement and required the defendant to provide an accounting of the plaintiff's "share of the profits" on the closing date. The plaintiff relied on the language in the handwritten agreement in claiming that the defendant still owed money. The defendant relied on the wording found in the share purchase agreement in arguing for a return of money. The question was what was meant by the word "profits" in the share purchase agreement. It was appropriate to look to the handwritten agreement for evidence of the parties' intention. The required payment was one half of the amount by which accounts receivable exceeded accounts payable on the date of the agreement. The plaintiff was awarded damages of $316,900.
On Appeal, the BC Court of Appeal, varied the trial judge’s award to account for a shareholder’s loan that our client already successfully sued on, but otherwise dismissed the appeal. Our clients were awarded costs in both courts: IDSS Enterprises Ltd. v. Dynasty P.G. & Grandsons Holding Inc., 2013 BCCA 354
Professional and Other Affiliations
- Law Society of British Columbia, Member
- Canadian Bar Association, Member
- Canadian Bar Association (B.C. Branch), Maritime Law Section, Member
- Canadian Bar Association (B.C. Branch), Insurance Law Section, Member
- Canadian Maritime Law Association, Member
Russell’s personal interests include skiing, softball, hockey and getting away to his family’s cabin in the Gulf Islands.