In 2013 this action was certified to proceed as a class proceeding on behalf of the following Class:
All individuals who applied and were accepted to be beneficiaries of the Athletic Trust in 2000, 2001, 2002 and/or 2003 and received Timeshare Weeks from the Athletic Trust and donated them, together with a cash donation, to one or more of the RCAAAs (the “Class Members”). Notice of Certification was published in 2014 and 2015 and the opt-out period is now closed.Top
On April 15, 2009, this class action lawsuit was launched on behalf of the proposed representative plaintiff Jeffrey Lipson, against Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP (“Cassels Brock”) in respect of allegations relating to legal opinions (“Legal Opinions”) prepared in support of a timeshare program operated and promoted by the Athletic Trust of Canada for anticipated tax credits (“Program”).
The Plaintiff and Cassels Brock and Blackwell have agreed to settle this class action for the all-inclusive amount of $8.25 million. The settlement was reached following extensive negotiations between the parties and with the assistance of a retired judge (mediator).
The agreement to settle this matter does not imply any liability, wrongdoing or fault on the part of Cassels Brock. None of the allegations against Cassels Brock have been proven and Cassels Brock expressly denies any liability, wrongdoing and/or fault.Top
After years of litigation, the parties reached a settlement of the class action. The settlement was subject to the approval of the Court. The Court held a hearing to decide whether to approve the settlement on January 20, 2023.
In Reasons for Decision released on February 14, 2023, the Court approved the settlement as being fair, reasonable and in the best interests of the Class. A copy of the Settlement Approval Order can be found here.Top
The $8.25 million Settlement Fund includes all compensation payable to the Class Members for any potential damages arising from their participation in the Athletic Trust Tax Reduction Program, legal fees and related disbursements (including taxes), the costs of administration and distribution of money to Class Members, a contribution to the legal expenses incurred by the Plaintiff and certain Class Members before Roy O’Connor LLP took carriage of this action, and a 10% statutory levy to the Class Proceedings Fund. In exchange for its $8.25 million payment, Cassels will receive a full release of all claims and any potential claims that Class Members may have against Cassels relating to, among other things, the Program, the donation of Timeshare Weeks and any tax consequences or damages arising therefrom as more fully described in the Settlement Agreement attached to the Settlement Approval Order.
The compensation paid to Class Members will be paid from the amount of money remaining after deducting the Court-approved legal fees and disbursements (including taxes), as well as the costs of administering and distributing the money to Class Members, from the $8.25 million (the “Net Settlement Fund”). The money to be distributed to the Class Members from the Net Settlement Fund is intended to reimburse them for some of their cash donations to the charities under the Program.
The settlement will be paid out of the Net Settlement Fund by the Settlement Administrator in two stages following the approval of the Settlement. The first stage payments will be based on the Class Members’ pro rata or proportionate cash donation made to the Athletic Trust Program. First stage payments are scheduled to paid in the summer of 2023.
The second stage of payments will distribute the remaining balance or residue of funds to the Class Members who cashed their cheques in the first stage of payments. Second stage payments are scheduled to paid in 2024.
Class Members entitled to compensation will receive a notice and letter from the Settlement Administrator summarizing the information available as to their individual donations to the Program and will be given 60 days to provide, correct or modify information.
The Settlement Administrator will have 90 days to review any donation information provided by Class Members. Payments will be made following the close of that review period.Top
The purpose of this Claim Summary Letter is to provide you with details, if any, that were provided to us, regarding your participation in the charitable donation program that operated from 2000-2003 by the Athletic Trust of Canada (the “Program”). It is important that you review the information to confirm it is accurate as it will be used to calculate your compensation, if any, from the settlement.
If the information is accurate, there is no further action required of you. If you believe there is an error or there is no Cash Donation information, you must provide corrective documentation verifying your Cash Donation(s), Timeshare Weeks and relevant tax years you participated in the Program. This back-up documentation must be received by May 15, 2023. Please ensure all responses are sent by mail to: Timeshare Settlement, c/o RicePoint Administration Inc., P.O. Box 3355, London, ON N6A 4K3, or by email at [email protected].
In order that the Notice of Approved Settlement and cheques payable to Class Members are delivered to the correct address, Class Members are requested to confirm or update their contact information by sending an email to the settlement administrator RicePoint Administration at [email protected] or through the change of address portal HERE.Top
The law firm of Roy O’Connor LLP is Class Counsel and represents the members of this Class in this action. Roy O’Connor LLP can be reached at: www.royoconnor.ca.
As set out above, Class Members do not have to personally pay Class Counsel for the work that they have done or for the disbursements that they have carried over the years since this case began. The Representative Plaintiff entered into a contingency fee agreement with Class Counsel at the outset of the case, providing that Class Counsel are to be paid only in the event of a successful settlement or trial judgment. As provided for in that contingency fee agreement, the Court approved legal fees of 25% of the Settlement Fund, after the deduction of $543,860.34, disbursements, and taxes, for a total fee of $2,176,984.46.
In this case, the Plaintiff has received financial support from the Class Proceedings Fund (the “Fund”), which is a body created by statute and designed to allow access to the courts through class actions in Ontario. The Fund agreed to reimburse the Plaintiff for some disbursements incurred in pursuing this action. The Fund would also have been responsible for costs that may have been awarded against the Plaintiff in this case. In exchange, the Fund is entitled to recover, from any Court award or settlement in favour of the Class Members, the amounts it has reimbursed the Plaintiff for disbursements as well as 10% of any amounts payable to Class Members.Top