Commercial litigation: Supreme Court rules in favour of Telus

Business customers who have Telus as a service provider can't launch class actions against the company. The Supreme Court of Canada recently ruled that business owners can't join commercial litigation lawsuits against Telus concerning its billing practices. Court judges ruled 4-3 that a judge in Ontario made an error allowing a business client of Telus to become part of a class action against the company.

Telus uses a rounding up procedure that takes talk time to the next minute so monthly minutes are depleted quicker. But the company said the class action launched against it should not apply to business customers since those contracts stipulate that disputes should go to arbitration rather than through the courts. The Supreme Court agreed.

The high court ruled that Ontario's Arbitration Act does not give judges the licence to include business customers in commercial litigation suits and that they're bound by the contracts they sign which precludes them from taking part in class actions. Telus said it believes arbitration is the best way of resolving disputes with business contract customers and applauded the Supreme Court decision. The three Supreme Court judges who disagreed said the Ontario judge used discretion properly when he decided business claims could be a part of the class action per billing issues.

Commercial litigation suits can be complex and may need the clarification of an Ontario lawyer. A lawyer can shed light on who may and who may not take part in class action suits and explain those areas of the law which may be confusing. Getting a lawyer's opinion may be the first step when considering joining a class action suit.

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