|Date Announced:||September 05, 2018|
|Date Closed:||September 05, 2018|
|Client Name:||Miller Bernstein|
Miller Bernstein was the auditor of Buckingham Securities, a securities deal whose registration was suspended by the Ontario Securities Commission in 2001 for failing to segregate client assets and maintain a minimum level of net capital. The clients suffered losses when Buckingham failed. One of the clients, Barry Lavender, brought a class action against Miller Bernstein in 2005 on behalf of all clients at the time Buckingham Securities was suspended. The action was certified on consent in 2010.
Bennett Jones acted for Miller Bernstein in defence of the action. The central issue in the action was whether Miller Bernstein owed a duty of care to the class members – Buckingham Securities' clients.
At first instance, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice held that Miller Bernstein owed a duty of care. However, in a unanimous decision, the Ontario Court of Appeal overturned the lower court's decision. The Court of Appeal found that Miller Bernstein did not owe a duty of care to its clients, granted summary judgment to Miller Bernstein, and dismissed the action in its entirety.