Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Carriage Motion Definition:

A motion made to a court of law during duplicative class action proceedings to defer to a predominant proceeding, staying others.

Related Terms: Class Action

Essentially, an application to a court of law to select bertween two or more proposed class action proceedings to determine which shall continue - shall have carriage - and the other(s) to be stayed.

An application for a carriage motion asks the Court to pick one of several class action procedings which purport to represent the same group of prospective litigants and in other regards, overlap. This often comes down to picking one group of, or a lead lawyer, over the others.

Justice Anne Molloy of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice agreed with these words in the 2013 case, Locking v. Armtec Infrastructure:

"The court’s primary concern on a class action carriage motion is to determine which of the competing actions is more, or most, likely to advance the interests of the class. The task, in other words is to find a solution that is in the best interests of the putative class members, promotes the objectives of the (Ontario) Class Proceedings Act ... and is fair to the defendants.

"The court has broad discretion ... to award carriage and to stay any related proceeding, on such terms as it considers appropriate.

"In determining which counsel group should have carriage of the action, the court should engage in a qualitative as opposed to a quantitative analysis. Specifically, the court should consider, among other factors, the following:

a) The nature and scope of the causes of action advanced;

b) The presence of any conflicts of interest;

c) Counsel factors including (i) the theories advanced by counsel; (ii) the status of each class action, including preparation; (iii) the resources, experience and competence of counsel; and (iv) the prior success of counsel in class actions, particularly, similar class actions.

d) The number, size, and extent of involvement of the proposed representative plaintiffs; and

e) The relative priority of commencing the class actions."

In their 2013 book on class action law, authors Eizenga and others offered this:

"Where two or more class proceedings are filed in respect of the same subject matter, and the classes are identical or ovelap significantly, counsel often agree to work together.... If counsel are unable to agree on a means to cooperate, a firm or group of firms may bring what has come to be known as a carriage motion .... The effective result of a successful carriage motion is to stay all other class proceedings."

See, also, the comments in regards to counsel of record at Class Action Litigation: Legal Primer, and especially the extract from Vitapharm Canada v. Hoffman-La Roche.

Carriage motions, if any, ought to be brought before the application for certification:

"In my opinion, it is clearly logical as well as fair and expeditious to hear the carriage motion in this case before any certification hearing."1


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