lundi 23 septembre 2013

Le bénéficiaire d'options pour acheter des actions peut intenter un recours en oppression

par Karim Renno
Irving Mitchell Kalichman s.e.n.c.r.l.

En matière d'oppression, la question de l'intérêt pour agir est souvent névralgique. En effet, la définition de plaignant de la Loi canadienne sur les sociétés par action est beaucoup plus large que seuls les actionnaires de la compagnie. Dans Psychogios c. Condina (2013 QCCS 4299), l'Honorable juge Mark Schrager devait déterminer si la personne bénéficiaire d'une option pour acheter des actions se qualifie à titre de plaignante.



Dans cette affaire, le Demandeur a déposé des procédures en oppression et il recherche l'émission de certaines ordonnances intérimaires en vertu de la Loi canadienne sur les sociétés par action. Le Défendeur conteste celles-ci, invoquant entre autre que le Demandeur n'a pas la qualité de plaignant au sens de la Loi, n'était pas détenteur d'actions.
 
Après analyse du cadre juridique, le juge Schrager en vient à la conclusion que la personne qui bénéficie d'une promesse unilatérale de lui vendre des actions se qualifie à titre de plaignante au sens de la loi:
[42]        The promise to sell shares (Exhibit P-17) signed by Condina and Psychogios, and quoted at length hereinabove, is simple and unambiguous.  On a prima facie basis, therefore, Psychogios has a right to two-thirds (2/3) of the shares of 833 Inc. 
[43]        The assertion by Condina that he was under pressure does not amount to his consent having been vitiated – he understood what he signed.  The other conditions invoked by him are nowhere referred to in the document nor in any other document in the record, and again on a prima facie basis do not merit consideration in the syllogism of Psychogios' right to the shares. 
[44]        A person having a right to become a registered owner of shares is a beneficial owner and as such, a "complainant" under Section 238(a) C.B.C.A., and thus has the standing to seek safeguard orders under Section 241 C.B.C.A.  
[45]        The submission of 833 Inc. that considerations of beneficial ownership have no place in a civil law jurisdiction is clearly wrong.  The C.B.C.A. has full force and effect and is to be applied throughout Canada, including Québec, notwithstanding that our system of private law is based on the Civil Code ("C.C.Q.") where beneficial ownership is not a recognized concept.   
[46]        As well, Article 1396 C.C.Q. provides that the beneficiary of a promise (Psychogios) has the right to the completion of the sale.  The French version of Section 238 C.B.C.A. speaks of the "véritable propriétaire" which is certainly wide enough to include the beneficiary of an unconditional promise to sell, who has the right to the transfer of title to the shares. 
[47]        Moreover, in the exercise of the undersigned's discretion and in the circumstances of this case, both Plaintiffs Psychogios and LPJ Inc. are proper persons to make an application, as foreseen by Section 238(d) C.B.C.A.  The determination in question must be made by a court, but such determination need not await the hearing on the merits [4].  Accordingly, based on the affidavit evidence before me, the undersigned concludes that Plaintiffs are proper persons to make an application under Section 241 C.B.C.A., the whole as foreseen by Section 231(d) C.B.C.A.  Clearly, where the oppression or prejudice complained of or the interest that has been disregarded includes the transfer of shares by the sole shareholder who has promised to transfer such shares, it is specious to contend that the aggrieved party does not have standing under the definition of a complainant in Section 238(d) C.B.C.A. as well as under Subsection (a).  There is no shortage of judicial authority to recognize such a proposition
Le texte intégral du jugement est disponible ici: http://bit.ly/15ntVYF

Référence neutre: [2013] ABD 380
 

Aucun commentaire:

Enregistrer un commentaire

Notre équipe vous encourage fortement à partager avec nous et nos lecteurs vos commentaires et impressions afin d'alimenter les discussions à propos de nos billets. Cependant, afin d'éviter les abus et les dérapages, veuillez noter que tout commentaire devra être approuvé par un modérateur avant d'être publié et que nous conservons l'entière discrétion de ne pas publier tout commentaire jugé inapproprié.