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Legal dispute between Green Leaf Brewing and Lonsdale Quay remains unresolved

The case will go to a full trial after a B.C. Supreme Court judge said he didn’t have the necessary facts to make a summary trial judgment
After opening for business in 2013, Green Leaf Brewing closed Aug. 30, 2022, after LQMC notified the brewery that a bailiff would continue its sale and seizure of the property under the Rent Distress Act if owed arrears weren’t paid in full. | Nick Laba / North Shore News

A legal dispute between a former brewery in North Vancouver’s Lonsdale Quay Market and the landlord of the property remains unresolved, following a B.C. Supreme Court decision.

Justice Michael Stephens dismissed Wednesday both an application for a summary trial made by Martin Ebadi and his former business Greenleaf Brewing Corp., along with a response to the application from Lonsdale Quay Market Corp.

A summary trial is an abbreviated court procedure which avoids a full-blown trial by determining facts of the case through written statements, without the need to fully present evidence through the testimony and cross-examination of witnesses.

Stephens said that he didn’t have the necessary evidence and facts to let the matter be settled through a summary trial.

In Greenleaf’s submissions, Ebadi alleged that Lonsdale Quay Market wrongfully failed to renew the lease for the brewing business and that the landlord failed to approve the sale of the business for $450,000.

In court documents, Ebadi said the Market or some of its representatives “misled” and “gave false hope” about the possibility of renewing the lease, starting in October 2020.

Ebadi also asserted that the Market only considered his proposal to sell of the business eight months after it was raised – after management had entered into a letter of intent with a new tenant for the space and served Ebadi with a notice of seizure for unpaid rent and other related costs.

Lonsdale Quay filed a claim against Greenleaf for arrears of rent of around $224,000 plus interest and an “unspecified amount” of the tenant’s sales revenue.

Stephens assessed the Market’s claim against Ebadi to be $300,000 or more.

Contrary to Ebadi’s claims, lawyers for the Market contended that there is no evidence that it knowingly misled the brewery.

Lonsdale Quay also argued that after the Oct. 2, 2020 meeting, the parties had negotiations “that were not in relation to the contractual performance of the lease, but were instead landlord-tenant negotiations about a potentially new lease, and there is no obligation to negotiate in good faith in that context,” Stephens stated while giving his reasoning in court.

Allegations will likely require considering credibility of witnesses, judge says

Justice Stephens noted substantive issues that are in dispute, including if Ebadi owes the unpaid rent and other arrears to the Market, and if so, how much.

Stephens acknowledged that a summary trial was Ebadi’s “preferred alternative” to a conventional trial.

“However, a summary trial is not a preferred alternative when adjudication in that would be unjust and unfair,” the judge said.

Stephens also declined Lonsdale Quay’s request for a hybrid trial, which would use the summary trial record and conduct cross-examination on written affidavits.

At issue in the trial will be assessing what was actually said in the 2020 meeting, Stephens said.

“I also find the allegations will likely require consideration of credibility of witnesses, and I’m unable in this case to make findings on the affidavit evidence,” he said.

As Stephens dismissed the submissions for a summary trial, both parties agreed that the legal costs in the ensuing trial would be covered by the losing party.

Following Stephens’ decision, Ebadi said he expects getting a date for a full trial could take up to two years.

After opening in 2013, Green Leaf Brewing closed at the end of August, 2022 after Lonsdale Quay Market Corp. notified Ebadi that a bailiff would continue its sale and seizure of the property under the Rent Distress Act if owed arrears weren’t paid in full. LQMC said Ebadi failed to do so by Aug. 30, and completed seizure and sale of the property by Sept. 10.

Ebadi filed a notice of civil claim Sept. 29, 2022.

None of the claims have been proven in court.

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