Claim Against CIBC Development Denied

On January 31, 2001, the Ontario Court of Appeal affirmed a trial judgment denying a $3.5 million claim against CIBC’s former real estate affiliate, CIBC Development Corporation (CIBC DC). The case involved a claim by a previous landlord (Harry Winton Investments Ltd.) resulting from a tenant’s decision to vacate its building because the plaintiff rented other space in the building to an abortion clinic.

The plaintiff sued CIBC DC on the theory that, by renting space to the former tenant, CIBC DC was inducing a breach of the former lease by the tenant. The plaintiff claimed rent for the balance of the lease term with the tenant’s former landlord. Because the tenant had already made up its mind to move out as a result of the abortion clinic moving in and was looking for a place to relocate, the Court of Appeal found that marketing space to the tenant by a prospective new landlord does not result in liability for inducing breach of contract.

Jim Dube and Andrew Pollock of Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP appeared for CIBC Development Corporation and John T. Morin, Q.C. and John G. Webster of Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP appeared for Harry Winton Investments Ltd.