Why Bother? Hopeless Appeal Dismissed

I sometimes wonder why a litigant would bother to challenge a case that they will so obviously lose…even more curious is when they lose, but carry on, by appealing…Kraemer v. Kraemer is such a case, 2020 ONCA 91.

Larry and Stacey Kramer married in 2001, but ended their marriage in 2015. In the spirit of familial harmony, they agreed that Stacey’s parents, Gus and Jan, would invest $216,000 into the home the Kraemer’s owned to renovate the property and build a “granny suite”. Gus and Jan resided together in the suite commencing in 2007 until Jan died in 2013. Gus remained living there.

After Gus and Jan moved in, they wisely retained a lawyer to document the arrangements and all parties signed a License Agreement, which confirmed that Larry and Stacey owned the home and that in consideration of a loan of $165,000 from Stacey’s parents to Larry and Stacey, Gus and Jan would reside in the granny suite. As security for the loan the parties agreed to an unregistered mortgage, which could be registered with 14 days notice.

After Stacey’s marriage collapsed, Gus tried unsuccessfully to register the mortgage, followed quickly by the commencement of several lawsuits.

Larry argued that the monies advanced were a gift and not a loan. Stacey
and her father Gus relied on the license agreement and mortgage to defend that claim. The Chambers judge, not surprisingly, agreed with Stacey and Gus and dismissed Larry’s action.

But Larry was not done, he brought an appeal citing three grounds:
1. He said that the License Agreement was not a “license” but a lease. This was summarily dismissed by the appeal panel.

2. Remaining with the rental theme, Larry argued that because it was really a lease, it was an invalid lease as it had no rental payment provision.

3. Finally, he said that if it was a license the amount of the mortgage should be reduced to take into account a “discount” for the time Gus occupied the suite. He sought a reduction of $67,000.

Pointing out that the agreement contained no such discount provision, Larry’s appeal was dismissed with an order that he pay costs of $21,000.

Only one question remains: How embarrassed was Larry Kraemer’s lawyer, Patrick Kraemer, to advance such futile arguments on appeal? Only a relative would suffer through that humiliation.

Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang

2 thoughts on “Why Bother? Hopeless Appeal Dismissed

  1. Litigants will sometimes persue a spurius lawsuit (and appeal) because they think that it will give them some leverage in settlement negotiations. It is an unethical strategy – but it occassionally, it works.

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