OHSWEKEN — A Hamilton judge has ordered the defendants to pay $15,500 in costs to Bill Monture and Wilf Davey in a putative class action that is now moving towards certification.
Justice Lococo issued his decision on January 7, 2019 and ordered Haudenosaunee Development Institute, Hazel Hill, Brian Doolittle, Aaron Detlor, the HDI’s Ontario Corporation 2438543 Ontario Inc, Ogwawista Dedwahsnye Inc. and Elvera Garlow to make payment by February 7, 2019. Lawyer for Davey and Monture, Jeffrey Kaufman, told TRT the payment was received late on March 5. Now, he says, the case will proceed toward a motion for certification as a class action.
In his decision from September 12, 2018 Justice Lococo writes that the plaintiffs are seeking $50 million in damages for the proposed class members, referred to in the claim as “the Haudenosaunee People”. Lococo gave a decision verifying that the claims being made by Davey and Monture have merit to come before the courts. HDI’s lawyers sought to have the case tossed but were unsuccessful.
Lococo disagreed writing in his judgement that he does not agree “that it is plain and obvious that the plaintiffs’ claim has no reasonable chance for success”. None of the claims have been proven in court, however it is now potentially on its way to becoming a class action suit. Lococo said that four items; breach of trust, breach of fiduciary duty, negligent or fraudulent misrepresentation and oppression have tenability to be argued in the case.
Claims in the lawsuit allege a breach of fiduciary duty by Elvera Garlow with her role in HDI’s federal financial management corporation known as Ogwawista Dedwahsnye Inc. According to Corporations Canada, Ogwawista is listed as a not-for-profit corporation with three original founding board members: Elvera Garlow, Colin Martin and Lousie Hill. Martin signed the documents in the articles of incorporation as the incorporator.
In 2017, Hill left the board and Kelly MacNaughton was listed as her replacement. The board changed again in 2018 with the departure of Garlow and new member Myka Burning added to the federal corporation. HCCC’s lawyer Aaron Detlor is also being sued in the case for breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty.
Lococo writes the plaintiffs claim Detlor was retained by the HCCC to act as their lawyer with respect to development projects on Haudenosaunee land and that Detlor had a responsibility to act in good faith. The plaintiffs say they suffered damages as a result of Detlor breeching that contract. Additional claims against the HDI and its officials allege the numbered company, Ogwawista and the individual directors engaged in fraudulent misrepresentation of the Haudenosaunee people and have added an additional claim of Oppression.
The relief from oppression claim is specifically against 2438543 Ontario Inc. under the Ontario Business Corporations Act — which protects an entities shareholders against prejudice and prevents corporations from disregarding their interests.
The plaintiffs say all of the Haudenosaunee people are shareholders according to the corporations construction, and that they relied on the defendants to “protect the rights of the class but instead, the defendants misappropriated the funds.”