Rufai v. Unifund, 2020, 18-012427/AABS

Full Decision

Guest AuthorMaryam Safdar Ali

The respondent brought a motion to quash the summons and change the format of the LAT hearing. The tribunal denied the motion to quash the summons and ordered the hearing to proceed in-person with attendance of the adjuster to be examined on the claim of Special Award.


The respondent brought a motion for an order (1) to quash the summons for the Adjuster; and (2) to adjourn the in-person hearing and converting the matter to a written hearing.

The applicant, Olakunle Rufai, was injured in an automobile accident and claimed accident benefits from Unifund. The applicant filed an Application with the Licence Appeal Tribunal when Unifund denied certain benefits. Following a case conference, a combination hearing was scheduled.

A couple of days prior to the hearing, the respondent filed a Notice of Motion seeking to quash the summons and change the format of the hearing.

1. Quashing the summons

Unifund argued that the summons should be quashed as an abuse of process. Unifund further argued that the adjuster would not be able to provide evidence relevant to the proceeding as the only issue in dispute is whether the applicant had a reasonable explanation for failing to attend an IE.

The applicant argued that there is no abuse of process and the summons should stand as the adjuster has relevant and direct knowledge of the matter.

The tribunal held that “…the applicant is entitled to summons a witness once it has provided the Tribunal with a brief description of the anticipated evidence”, which is a low bar and witnesses are generally added if a party can satisfy this low threshold. The tribunal noted that the issues in dispute were framed as income replacement benefits, interest, and an award pursuant to Ontario Regulation 664. The tribunal did not vacate the summons given the issues in dispute and directed the adjuster to attend for the purposes of cross-examination as he will have unique knowledge of the matter.

2. Changing the format of the hearing

Unifund argued that the matter be converted into a written hearing given the climate relating to the Covid-19 outbreak. They further argued that there would be little prejudice to the applicant as a result.

The applicant submitted that the parties discussed the format of the hearing and agreed on the in-person hearing which was made into an order following the case conference. The applicant further argued that the respondent was essentially seeking to appeal the order but without following the appropriate steps.

The tribunal held that “an in-person portion of the hearing was set on consent of the parties for the purposes of cross-examination of the adjuster and re-examination”. The tribunal denied the motion to convert this into a written hearing.

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