May 15th, 2020
Oct 31st, 2019
By Laurent Debrun
L.T. v. P.S., 2019 QCCS 3244 (Jeffrey Edwards, J.S.C.) - http://canlii.ca/t/j1sgc
What is the value of an interest in an account relating to two excellent red season tickets for the Montreal Canadiens?
L.T. and P.S. were for decades brothers-in-law sharing two Montreal Canadiens season tickets, first at the Forum then at the Centre Molson (now the Centre Bell). L.T. and P.S. parted ways following divorce proceedings in the family. P.S. refused to honour the long-standing practice of dividing the seats for the upcoming season and sharing the price equally. As the Montreal Canadiens have a policy of allowing only one person as registered holder of the account for season tickets, and P.S. was the one registered on the account, the court refused to find that a co-ownership agreement existed between the parties. The court could not order the partition of the account for the two tickets so as to grant plaintiff the exclusive right to one season ticket or co-ownership in the two tickets.
Having found, however, the existence of a verbal agreement to split the season tickets, P.S.' refusal to respect this agreement was tantamount to a breach of contract.
Based on expert evidence as to the factors affecting the price of a sui generis contract for season tickets for the Canadiens, the court valued at $51,195 the market price for the pair. Plaintiff was awarded half or $25,597.
Interestingly, this valuation was arrived at despite the fact that the court found that since 2006 the Canadiens Ticket Office has a chilling transfer policy for season tickets to a new owner (except for a transfer to family members or between related companies) whereby a transfer fee must be paid in an amount equivalent to the price of the regular season tickets at the time of transfer (i.e. the third party transferee must a) pay the agreed price to the transferor, whatever that price is, and then b) pay to the Montreal Canadiens i) the price of one full season as a transfer fee and ii) the price of the tickets for that season).
Of note is that P.S. was condemned to pay a part of L.T.'s legal fees as the court found that P.S.' refusal to recognize the verbal agreement with L.T. signed conduct akin to bad faith, aimed at hurting his former brother in law, to inflict what was felt to be a deserved punishment. While the abuse of right on the substantive right (i.e the merits of the claim) did not suffice here for the court to award legal fees, having found that, after the institution of the legal proceedings, there was an abuse of procedure and process, including the defence of a non-existent right or disloyal conduct, the court awarded part of the plaintiff's legal fees.