CLASS ACTION | Global Learning Group Inc.This certified class action is brought on behalf of the approximately 60,000 Canadian taxpayers who suffered damages as a result of their participation in the GLGI charitable donation program between 2004-2014.
CLASS ACTION | GLOBAL LEARNING GROUP INC.
Saskatchewan Action, Piett v. Global Learning Group Inc et al., NOT CERTIFIED
On August 27, 2021, Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench finally released its decision about whether the Merchant Law Group’s proposed class action could proceed as a class action. The Honourable Justice McCreary refused to certify that action, Piett v. Global Learning Group Inc. et al.
Justice McCreary found that the Piett action is an abuse of process because of the proposed representative plaintiffs’ (and other’s) improper conduct when the action was started, including soliciting the $500 “retainer payments” which Merchant Law Group spent without court authorization. On that basis, she struck out the claim, entirely. Justice McCreary concluded that neither Mr. Piett nor Mr. Shoeman were suitable representative plaintiffs because they have a conflict of interest with the other class members. She also decided that there is no tenable claim against the CRA, and that this Ontario action (Wintercorn et al. v. GLGI et al) is the preferable procedure for the prosecution of the class members’ claims.
Justice McCreary’s complete judgment can be found here.
Piett has now discontinued his claim against all the defendants in the SK action, except for the CRA.
Piett is seeking leave to appeal the decision of Justice McCreary dismissing his claim against CRA. The court hearing on that leave motion will be taking place at the end of November, 2021. Only if Piett is granted leave to appeal, and then also is successful in overturning Justice McCreary’s decision on appeal will the SK action proceed against the CRA. The test to establish that leave should be granted is very onerous, and given the multiple bases upon which the Saskatchewan court denied certification of the Piett case, we do no expect that leave will be granted. Once the results of the leave motion are known, we will provide another update.
Presently, the Ontario action is the only certified class proceeding seeking relief for the Global Learning Group Inc. scheme.
If you previously opted-out of the Ontario class action, you cannot opt back into the Ontario action due to Justice McCreary’s refusal to certify the Piett action.
Settlement Reached with MKW Defendants
On August 19, 2020, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice granted the Plaintiffs’ motion to:
- amend the Statement of Claim to add Robert Kepes and Morris & Morris LLP as defendants;
- certify the case against Robert Kepes, Morris & Morris LLP, and Morris, Kepes & Winters LLP (collectively, the “MKW Defendants”) for settlement purposes;
- and approve a settlement with the MKW Defendants.
An unissued copy of the Court Order can be viewed here, and an issued copy will be posted as soon as it is available. Court-approved Notices to the Class regarding the settlement approval will be posted under the “Documents” tab as soon as they are available.
The settlement with the MKW Defendants resolves the class action against them, and only them. The class action continues to be pursued against ten other non-settling defendants.
Under the terms of the settlement agreement, the MKW Defendants paid $1,450,000 and agreed to co-operate with the Plaintiffs in the ongoing litigation of the Action against the non-settling defendants. In exchange, all of the Class’ claims against the MKW Defendants have been released on a full and final basis. The liability of the non-settling defendants to the Class will exclude whatever proportion of fault (if any) the Court finds was the responsibility of the MKW Defendants. The settlement funds have been and will be used to pay various costs associated with litigating this case, and there will be no distribution of money to the Class from this settlement at this time. The Class Proceedings Fund has been paid a portion of the settlement fund as required by law in exchange for the indemnification and disbursement funding. The Court has approved this settlement agreement as being fair, reasonable, and in the best interests of the Class.
Details of the settlement can be found in the settlement agreement, also posted under the “Documents” tab.
As of 5:00 p.m. EST March 6, 2020, the opt-out period for this class action is now closed.
Update regarding addition of Defendant Graham Turner
On March 4, 2020, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice granted the Plaintiffs’ motion to amend the Statement of Claim and add Graham Turner as a defendant. Turner is a now-retired tax lawyer who took over operation of Escrowagent in 2009 and acted as counsel to GLGI commencing in 2010. The Plaintiffs are advancing claims of negligence, negligent misrepresentation, knowing receipt, and unjust enrichment against him. A copy of the Third Amended Statement of Claim incorporating the claims against Turner will be posted in the “Documents” section once it is filed.
WARNING: Communications from Donors4Donors
We understand that many class members have been receiving email communications from “Donors4Donors”, and recently a text from “Donor Support Group”. Most recently, Donors4Donors was soliciting class members to consult with an “expert” regarding their CRA obligations.
Donors4Donors was originally created to encourage people to “sign up” for the proposed class action started by Merchant Law Group.
Messages from Donors4Donors are not communications sent to you in relation to this class action, and they are not messages that have been approved by Class Counsel. Class Counsel does not endorse any communications from Donors4Donors or Donor Support Group.
We strongly encourage class members to disregard any communications from these sources, or to “unsubscribe” or block, if you no longer wish to receive emails from them.
CLASS ACTION CERTIFIED
On June 26, 2019, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice certified the Action as a National class proceeding on behalf of a class defined as:
- All persons who participated in the Global Learning Gifting Initiative Charitable Donation program (“the Gift Program”), exclusive of the Defendants, their family members, employees, agents, assigns, parent or subsidiary or affiliated companies, and any person or entity who provided services to one or more of the Defendants in respect of the creation, promotion, marketing or sale of the Gift Program, including any sales agents or distributors, and exclusive of Juanita Mariano, Douglas Moshurchak, Sergiy Bilobrov, Melba Lapus, Lylyne Santos, the Estate of Penny Sharp, and Janice Moshurchak.
The Certification Order can be viewed here. Formal notice of the certification of this action as a class proceeding is now being published and sent to the last known address of class members, where available. The Notices are under the Documents tab.
The Certification motion has been adjourned with respect to the claim against Morris Kepes Winters LLP, and will be brought back before the court at a future date in 2020.
A settlement with two of the Defendants, Denis Jobin and JDS Corporation, was also approved by the Superior Court of Justice on June 26, 2019. The order approving that settlement can be viewed here.
Several Defendants intend to bring motions for summary judgment. The summary judgment motions have not yet been scheduled, pending production of relevant documents and cross-examinations.
There is another action pending in Saskatchewan, Piett v. Global Learning Group Inc. et al., which raises many of the same claims as this action against the same defendants, but it also includes other defendants. The Piett action has not been certified as a class proceeding. The motion for certification of the Piett action was heard by the Saskatchewan Court of Queens Bench during the week of December 9, 2019, and is under reserve. Class Counsel argued that this Ontario proceeding should be preferred and that the Saskatchewan court should not certify the Piett action. Certification of the Saskatchewan action was also opposed by all defendants named in that action. When the result of that proceeding is known, this website will be updated.
This action is funded by the Class Proceedings Fund. The Class Proceedings Fund will provide some funding for the costs of disbursements incurred in prosecuting the case, and will provide an indemnity to the Plaintiffs for any adverse cost awards made by the court. In exchange, the Fund will be entitled to receive 10% of the net proceeds of any judgment or settlement achieved for the Class.
Interest Relief Letters from CRA
CRA delivered letters to some class members to let them know that it has agreed to provide some relief from interest on the reassessed taxes based upon delays of the Appeal Division in 2014 and again from March 22 to September 2016.
If you have not made an application for Taxpayer Relief, you may not receive the benefit of this recent decision. You should consult with your accountant or tax advisor about this. This is a link to CRA Form RC4288 the Taxpayer Request for Relief form.
December 2017 email from “firstname.lastname@example.org”
Some people may have received an email in mid-December 2017 with a link to a CRA letter. The CRA letter does not confirm CRA is issuing Notices of Confirmation for all outstanding GLGI objections. It is our understanding that the email was not sent by GLGI, which is no longer carrying on business. If you have received a letter from CRA, you should contact your financial advisor. We cannot provide you with advice regarding your individual dealings with CRA.