MONTREAL, Feb. 7, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - The co-founder of Guess Jeans, Georges Marciano, has won another victory in his Quebec "iron arm"
over the seizure of his assets and the recognition of the involuntary
US bankruptcy declared against him without having the opportunity to
present a defence. In a judgment rendered last Friday, the Quebec Court
of Appeal acknowledged the businessman and the interested third
parties' arguments and dismissed the demands of appellants
(PricewaterhouseCoopers, American trustee David Gottlieb and former
employees of Georges Marciano) to enforce major seizures carried out in
Old Montreal in September 2011—while waiting for the Court of Appeal to
pronounce itself on the judgment declaring them illegal.
On December 8, the Honourable Justice Schrager, of the Superior Court of
Quebec, deemed the seizures illegal (money, property, artworks, luxury
cars, jewels, etc.) and cancelled them.
The Court of Appeal did not uphold the appellants' arguments concerning
the "urgency" of their requests and the fact that the cancellation of
the seizures caused them an irreparable prejudice. "On the contrary, we
must note that many of the assets in question are hardly likely to
evaporate" wrote the Court, in French, in its decision.
PricewaterhouseCoopers has yet to reimburse the significant sums of
money seized last September, despite having been ordered to do so on
December 8, 2011. US trustee David Gottlieb might also be convicted for
contempt of court for his own refusal to abide by Justice Schrager's
judgment. The US trustee now maintains that the Quebec courts have no
jurisdiction to sentence him for contempt of court. This matter will be debated before Justice Schrager on February 15 at
the Montreal courthouse.
Review of the facts
In 2009, Georges Marciano, now established in Old Montreal, was
sentenced by an American court to pay moral and punitive damages of
over $260 million to seven former employees, based solely on the
proceedings he initiated against them, without having the opportunity
to present a full defence. The Honourable Justice Schrager's decision
specified that moral and punitive damages of over $260 million would be
deemed excessive under Quebec and Canadian law.
Even though the said judgments for damages are under appeal, the former
employees obtained a US judgment in December 2010 to force Marciano
into bankruptcy and took steps to have this judgment recognized in
Canada in order to seize his assets.
In September 2011, the Superior Court of Quebec authorized a drastic
seizure of Georges Marciano's assets. The seizures, which were
requested by the American trustee and PricewaterhouseCoopers, were
granted in secret, through a special procedure where Mr. Marciano was
neither present nor represented.
On December 8, 2011, Justice Schrager cancelled the rulings of September
2011 and declared the seizures illegal. In his decision, Justice
Schrager ordered the US Trustee Gottlieb and PricewaterhouseCoopers to
return all assets seized to Mr. Marciano and the third parties
involved. According to Justice Schrager, the attorneys for the former
employees, the US trustee and PricewaterhouseCoopers had not fully and
adequately revealed the existence of essential facts, including pending
appeals in the United States.
SOURCE ENIGMA COMMUNICATIONS INC.
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