Videotron s.e.n.c. and Group TVA Inc. v. Bell ExpressVu LP

On March 6, 2015, the Quebec Court of Appeal, reversing a Montreal Superior Court judgment, awarded $82 million, plus interest and costs, in damages to plaintiffs Videotron and Group TVA, following a finding by the lower Court that Bell ExpressVu should have proceeded more rapidly to swap the access cards in the set-top boxes of its satellite TV customers which were the subject of piracy in the early 2000s. Following a 57-day trial, the trial judge had awarded damages of $650,000, plus interest and costs, to plaintiffs. The decision of the Quebec Court of Appeal is unprecedented regarding the criterion of “palpable and overriding error” as a basis for intervention by a court of appeal and the amount by which the damages awarded were increased. The decision also highlights the distinction between Quebec civil law and tort law on extra-contractual liability, as interpreted by the Quebec Court of Appeal. The Supreme Court of Canada denied leave to appeal the decision.

Videotron and TVA were represented by Woods LLP. The Woods team for the appeal consisted of James Woods, Patrick Ouellet and Alexandre Paul-Hus.

BEV was represented by McCarthy Tétrault LLP. The McCarthy Tétrault team for the appeal consisted of Chantal Tremblay (now a judge of the Superior Court), Jean Lortie and Marc-André Russell (now with Morency, Société d’Avocats, s.e.n.c.r.l.).