The plaintiff was a man named Peter Dennis, who signed a self-exclusion form to remove himself from casinos as part of the OLG’s voluntary program. By signing a self-exclusion form, Dennis agreed that the OLG was to use its “best efforts” to prevent him from entering any gambling facility in Ontario.
But the form includes a clause stating that the OLG is not liable for any losses a player may incur should they enter a casino. Dennis claims he entered casinos multiple times, and continued to gamble despite his self-exclusion agreement until he officially quit in 2007.
Dennis then subjected the OLG to a lawsuit claiming the self-exclusion program was insufficient, and negligently violated its own mandate. He attempted to form a class action lawsuit comprising numerous gamblers who signed self-exclusion forms between late 1999 and early 2005.
The case first went to a Divisional Court, where Dennis’ case was dismissed, a decision upheld by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. Both courts ruled that Dennis failed to provide evidence that would warrant a class action lawsuit. The final appeal with Justice Sharpe put an end to Dennis’ case.
While issuing his ruling, Justice Sharpe offered a variety of scenarios that undermine a class action lawsuit. A class action lawsuit requires common issues for all parties subject to the terms of a contract or service. In the case of the OLG self-exclusion program, players who signed the form and never returned to the casino; were rejected entry into the casino, or who won money while in the casino would never make a claim against the OLG. As a result, Dennis could not legally make a class action claim.