A B.C. Supreme Court master has dismissed a lawsuit filed against a Prince George business as an abuse of process because the plaintiff had already received an award through the small claims process.

Edmonton-based Miro Chembiotech Ltd. (MCL) had been claiming $7,931.71 from Houle Electric Ltd. for allegedly failing to connect two pieces of equipment at a site in Prince George where it had planned to produce a pair of mineral supplements using an experimental process.

The step was taken after MCL was initially awarded $3,211.41 by a adjudicator with the Civil Resolutions Tribunal.

Claims filed with the CRT are capped at $5,000 and in a decision issued April 5, B.C. Supreme Court Master Sandra Harper found MCL’s owner could have waited to determine the full extent of the damages before filing a claim against Houle.

The B.C. Supreme Court lawsuit was based on the same facts and the same alleged breach of contract as that taken before the CRT, and so is an abuse of process, Harper found “regardless of whether the nature and quantum of damages is different from those claimed in the CRT.”

MCL had secured the award from the CRT in a default decision because Houle inadvertently failed to file a response to the claim and then decided it did not make economic sense to apply to set the decision aside and under the understanding the amount would “fully resolve and bring to an end MCL’s claims against Houle.”

But in December 2020, MCL filed the new claim in B.C. Supreme Court.

Houle, meanwhile, had filed a claim of its own against MCL with the CRT and, in turn, was awarded $2,998.97 after a second adjudicator found it MCL still owed Houle for the balance of work that was carried out.

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