Immigrant “Tricked” Into Business Agreement Successfully Rescinds Contract

Glen Forrester, a Vancouver civil and commercial litigator, recently successfully defended a potential immigrant who a Canadian business was suing.  The Canadian business was trying to compel the individual to pay $200,000 pursuant to an asset purchase agreement.  The case is noteworthy from an immigration law standpoint as the individual entered into the asset purchase agreement because she thought it would assist her with her immigration application, when in fact it did not.

The case did not involve malicious intent on the part of the Canadian business.  The business’s principal genuinely believed that the asset purchase agreement met British Columbia’s requirements for immigrating under the British Columbia Provincial Nomination Program, admitted that he ran advertisements stating the same, and acknowledged that he told the potential immigrant that the asset purchase agreement met the BC PNP requirements.

Notwithstanding that there was no malicious intent on the part of the seller, Glen Forrester successfully argued that the asset purchase agreement was invalid because of innocent misrepresentation.  Innocent misrepresentation generally occurs in situations where the representor has reasonable grounds for believing that the representation is true.  There is no need to show that an individual’s reliance on the misrepresentation was reasonable. The remedy for innocent misrepresentation is recission (or cancelling) the contract.

Our firm, Larlee Rosenberg, was peripherally involved in the case.  Peter Larlee provided expert testimony.  The judgement contains the following excerpts from Peter’s expert report:

It is my conclusion that the Purchase Agreement could not form the basis of a successful application pursuant to the BC PNP, under the Region Business Category or otherwise.

The Purchase Agreement does not meet these criteria and therefore could not form the basis of an application pursuant to the BC PNP. There is nothing exceptional about the Purchase Agreement that would except or exempt it from the policy requirements.

 

Glen Forrester’s success in this case meant that his client got to keep her $200,000, and was not forced to purchase a business that she did not want.

Larlee Rosenberg has been approached by numerous Canadian businesses wanting to know if the sale of their assets meet the requirements of the BC PNP.  Presumably, there are several businesses that are not seeking expert advice before entering into asset purchase agreements with prospective immigrants.  Such individuals who find themselves signatories to contracts that they only entered into because they mistakenly believed it would help their immigration would be wise to contact Glen Forrester.


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