Judge rules crab quota case should proceed to trial
New Waterford man was seeking summary judgment
A Cape Breton Supreme Court justice has denied a New Waterford’s man claim for a summary judgment on a disputed crab quota licence.
Paul Fraser had petitioned the court to grant his application seeking compensation for the sale of the quota and to transfer the quota to another licence holder.
As noted by Justice Robin Gogan in her decision, the purpose and objective of a summary judgement is to end claims or defences that have no real prospect of success.
“All of the evidence offered at this point supports there are material facts in dispute as to ownership of the disputed quota,” ruled Gogan, denying the application.
She said a trial is required to resolve the dispute.
Fraser is a familiar figure to many having spent years pub- licly protesting against the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans, the Royal Bank of Canada and others over a disputed crab quota. In 2014, he spent nearly seven hours on the rooftop of the fisheries building to protest his dispute with the regulatory body.
In May 2010, according to Gogan’s decision, Fraser transferred his crab quota to another licence holder. The quota was later transferred to a numbered company, 3102602 Nova Scotia Limited.
Fraser did receive compensation for the transfer in 2010 but not in subsequent years. Fraser claims he intended to transfer the quota to Big Bras d’Or Group.
In response, 3102602 claims the quota is owned by Roddie Jeffrie and the purchase was legal. Further, the company claims it relied on assurances from Anthony Hendrickson that he had authority to sell the quota.
The court noted that Big Bras d’Or Group had some commercial relationship with Three Port Fisheries Limited, of which Hendrickson and Jeffrie were one-time shareholders.
Among those to testify at the application hearing was Claire MacDonald, local manager for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
She testified that Fraser’s quota was transferred to the numbered company in October 2011. Fraser maintained it was also his intent to transfer the quota, not sell. He re- ceived a payment from Three Port Fisheries in 2010 but none in subsequent years.
Fraser told the court that when he asked Hendrickson about his compensation, he was told that Jeffrie, president of Three Port and a former shareholder, was holding things up.
Jeffrie claims he received the quota from Hendrickson as part of settlement of his interest in Three Port.
In her decision Gogan said that it is undisputed in this case that what was Fraser’s crab quota allocation is now held by 3102602.
“What is disputed is the basis upon which the transfer took place, what role, if any, Hendrickson played in the transfer, and whether Fraser remains the true owner of the crab quota, or whether Jeffrie at some point in the transactions became a bona fide purchaser for value without notice,” she said.
“All of the evidence offered at this point supports there are material facts in dispute as to ownership of the disputed quota.”
Justice Robin Gogan