What is the Newfoundland Liquor Licensee Levy Class Action about?

In 1969 the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador imposed a levy on the purchase of all alcoholic spirits, beer and wine. Any persons, corporate or individual, who obtained a license to sell alcoholic beverages under the Liquor Control Act had to purchase the products from the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation or its licensed agents or distributors. A tax (levy) was imposed on the purchase of each alcoholic beverage and required to be paid by each purchaser to the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation. This action alleges that the tax as imposed was unconstitutional as the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador did not have the power to impose the tax, and further, that the Government is obliged to repay the monies it acquired under the levy to those purchasers (i.e. the members of the class).[/dropdown_box]

What is a Class Action?

A “Class Action” is a court process which allows a variety of persons to join in one claim which share common attributes. In Newfoundland and Labrador class action legislation was enacted on April 1, 2002, allowing for a variety of individuals having suffered a common loss, or possessing an entitlement to a common claim, to join together under one particular proceeding so that the action might move forward in a cost-effective and expeditious fashion. The general theory of class action legislation is that it allows persons with claims which individually may not be significant enough to justify the legal expense an opportunity to pursue and prosecute collectively a matter against, usually, a larger entity, be it government or corporate.

In relation to the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Licensee Levy action, a variety of corporations, sporting fraternal organizations and individual persons will be entitled to join together to claim against the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Licensing Corporation and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. The claim by the class, assuming that the class is certified, will be for the disgorgement to those persons who paid the levy to the licensing agency.[/dropdown_box]

As a class member, do I have any responsibility to pay for any cost awards payable to the other side?

Costs are monies paid by an unsuccessful party to the successful party in a litigation matter. In a class action “No costs” is the general rule courts follow, and an award of costs against a class is usually allowed in only the most exceptional of circumstances. Should such exceptional circumstances arise, the representative plaintiff would be responsible for costs, not the individual class members.

As a class member do I have a responsibility for the legal fee of plaintiff’s counsel?

The representative plaintiffs (Sundance Saloon Ltd. and Big Bens Limited) have entered into a contingency fee agreement with Goodland O’Flaherty, which provides for payment of their legal fees in the event the action is successful. The legal fees are paid from the proceeds of any settlement or judgment, and therefore do not require any payment from class members directly. Under Newfoundland and Labrador class action legislation the class action counsel’s legal fees must be approved by the court. If the class action is not successful, there is no fee due to Goodland O’Flaherty.

Who can become part of the class in the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Licensee Levy Class Action?

Any person, company, institution, community group, fraternal organization, or sporting group who has paid to the Newfoundland Labrador Liquor Corporation a levy for the purchase of any alcohol, wine or spirits is entitled to join the class.

Why should I join the class action?

Participation by qualified parties gives credibility to the class action and helps to ensure that individual’s right of participation in any money payment. Until such time as the class action is certified, you do not have to do anything to become a member of the class. If you fall within the definition, and the class action is certified, you are automatically a member unless you opt out.

What law firm will be representing the class?

By Order of Mr. Justice Thompson of the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador, Trial Division, Goodland O’Flaherty, Barristers and Solicitors, with David P. Goodland and Philip J. Buckingham as co-lead counsel have been appointed to represent the class. This decision has been confirmed by the Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal.[/dropdown_box]

Has the class action been certified?

No, but an application to have the matter certified as a class action has been filed by Goodland O’Flaherty.  The application for certification of the action is set for January 27th, 28th and 29th, 2009, before Mr. Justice Thompson.

What should I do?

If you believe you fall within the definition then once the action is certified you may complete the online registration form, or send your contact information to Goodland O’Flaherty at the address below. Goodland O’Flaherty will be maintaining this website on an ongoing basis to keep all members advised as the matter proceeds. Included in the website will be access to all court orders and court documents that are deemed of most interest to the class. Ultimately, if the class action is certified then further steps will be taken to identify all members of the class including advertising of a notice to the class.

How can I contact Goodland O’Flaherty?

You can contact us directly by clicking here


IMPORTANT NOTE:This website has been developed to provide general information to potential members in this class action. The site is not designed to answer questions regarding particular or individual situations or entitlements. Do not rely upon the information provided in this website as legal advice in respect of your particular or individual situation or use it as an opinion of individual legal advice.

The information collected about potential class members will assist Goodland O’Flaherty in prosecuting the class action and assessing what damages were suffered by the various individuals and the class as a whole. Providing the information requested does not make you a client of Goodland O’Flaherty. The Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador will ultimately determine who will be included as a class member. The class action against the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has not yet been certified.