In a prior blog post we reported about a decision from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice where a condominium owner, Mr. Lahrkamp, was prohibited from commencing any legal proceedings against his condominium corporation, except with leave of a judge of the Superior Court of Justice. Mr. Lahrkamp was also prohibited from commencing any legal proceedings against any current, past or future directors of the corporation, its property manager and any of the corporation’s service providers, without leave from a judge. Mr. Lahrkamp, had engaged in more than a dozen legal proceedings against the condominium corporation over approximately ten years. Most of the legal proceedings related to requests by Mr. Lahrkamp for production of documents pursuant to section 55 of the Condominium Act, 1998. Over the years, while the condominium corporation was ordered to produce some documents to Mr. Lahrkamp, most of his legal claims were dismissed.
Now that the Ontario Condominium Authority Tribunal (“Tribunal”) is the forum for the resolution of disputes concerning condominium records, it’s no surprise that Mr. Lahrkamp applied to the Tribunal for an order requiring the corporation to produce documents. Specifically, he requested a list of the condominium owners and mortgagees, the most recent approved financial statements, the minutes of board meetings held within the preceding 12 months and ballots used in the annual general meeting election.
The corporation claimed that all of the requested records had been requested and litigated previously. Mr. Lahrkamp took the position that the condominium documents are living documents which evolve as information changes and therefore his current record requests are new and not the subject of previous requests. The current request was prompted in part by recent hallway renovations and Mr. Lahrkamp’s suspicion that previous financial statements were inaccurate due to fraud. Mr. Lahrkamp also believed that his request for ballots was a new request as his past requests related to proxies.
The Tribunal dismissed Mr. Lahrkamp’s application on the basis that it “fits within an already established pattern of vexatious conduct”, even if the requests were unique and not the subject of previous requests. The previous vexatious litigant court order did not apply to proceedings before the Tribunal. However, the Tribunal relied on section 1.41 of the Condominium Act, 1998, which provides that:
“the Tribunal may refuse to allow a person to make an application or may dismiss an application without holding a hearing if the Tribunal is of the opinion that the subject matter of the application is frivolous or vexatious or that the application has not been initiated in good faith or discloses no reasonable cause of action”.
The effect of this decision is that while Mr. Lahrkamp’s current application was dismissed, there is nothing preventing him from commencing other applications to the Tribunal. The corporation would have to obtain a further court order that clearly specifies that the vexatious litigant declaration and prohibition on commencing proceedings also applies to applications to the Tribunal.