Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP v Baker Hughes Canada Company, 2019 ABQB 233
Read full decision. Summary prepared by Alan Macek:
"The parties ... seek a decision of the Court whether the Respondents Baker Hughes will be granted an extension of the time limit in Rule 10.10(2) of the Alberta Rules of Court to review certain legal accounts issued by Blakes. ... Baker Hughes Canada was sued in the Federal Court by Rapid Completions LLC and Packers Plus Energy Services Inc. ... The Plaintiffs alleged that Baker Hughes Canada infringed their exclusive rights to certain fracking technology [see 2017 FC 1111]. ... The request by a party to review a lawyer’s account is not necessarily or presumptively a reflection of dissatisfaction with the service or the outcome of litigation, but the fact that the client is the steward of finite resources and may be accountable to others, including shareholders, for money spent. Deadlines have real and material importance both in litigation and in business. They create certainty, drive action and result in a party’s reliance once those deadlines have passed. Where, like here, Baker Hughes missed the time limit for review of the accounts, it is presumptively out of court. However, despite Baker Hughes’ delay in raising concerns regarding the Blakes accounts within the time limit in the Rules and despite its failure to provide adequate explanation for that delay, the Q1 2017 accounts are more than four times the estimate and, more importantly, the accounts on their face do not conform to the Retainer Agreement. I am satisfied that the interests of justice would not be served by strictly enforcing a time limit in the Rules that would preclude a client from inquiring into accounts that lack transparency with respect to the agreed upon billing methodology. I am therefore prepared to extend the time limit under Rule 10.10(b) to permit the review of the accounts."