Ontario Court Upholds Amendment to IMAX Canadian “Global” Class Certification Order


As discussed in a post last year, on March 19, 2013, Justice van Rensburg of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice issued an opinion relating to overlapping class action proceedings against IMAX Corporation (“IMAX”) in the United States and Ontario, Canada (the “March 2013 Order”).  In her decision, Justice van Rensburg recognized a U.S. class action settlement with IMAX, which had already been approved by a U.S. Court and amended its previous decision certifying a “global” class of investors that acquired IMAX shares on both the NASDAQ and TSX stock exchanges.  The March 2013 Order amended the definition of the Ontario global class by removing all persons previously within the Ontario global class who decided to participate in the settlement arising out of the parallel U.S. proceedings, and approved by the U.S. Court.  The removal from the Ontario global class of all class members who would partake in the U.S. settlement was a condition of that settlement and prevented any double recovery from both jurisdictions.

Shortly after the decision, Plaintiffs in the Canadian Action appealed the March 2013 Order.

On October 29, 2013, Justice Tzimas of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice issued an order denying the Canadian plaintiffs’ July 29, 2013 motion for leave to appeal the March 2013 Order.  See Silver v. IMAX Corp., [2013] ONSC 1667 (Can. Ont. Sup. Ct. J.), Reasons for Judgment, October 29, 2013.   A copy of that decision can be found here.  In rejecting the Canadian plaintiffs’ motion for leave, Justice Tzimas determined, among other things that, “The amendment of the class would facilitate the exercise of a class member’s litigation autonomy. It would not take anything away. Nobody would be forcing a class member to exercise his option on the day of reckoning in one way or another.  To the contrary, a refusal to amend the class would effectively extinguish the U.S. settlement completely, and therefore, take away the settlement option from the class members who wanted to settle their claim.”  Id. at ¶44.

In November 2013, after the parties in the U.S. Class Action determined that the March 2013 Order is now final and unappealable, Lead Plaintiff in the U.S. Class Action moved the U.S. Court for entry of final judgment.  On November 21, 2013, the Court entered a final judgment dismissing all claims against defendants IMAX, Richard L. Gelfond, Bradley J. Wechsler, Francis T. Joyce and PricewaterhouseCoopers-Canada LLP (the “Final Judgment Order”).   The Final Judgment Order permits the U.S. settlement to be concluded and payments to eligible claimants to proceed.

Abbey Spanier, LLP, located in New York City, is a well-recognized national class action and complex litigation law firm.