Can a motion for summary judgment be dismissed or adjourned if there are outstanding undertakings on the motion?

Ontario, Canada

The following excerpt is from Talbot v Nourse, 2016 ONSC 2335 (CanLII):

Nonetheless, counsel for the defendants relies on the following paragraph: As a practical matter, if there are outstanding undertakings relevant to the respondent’s position on the motion, and where the provision of such information may support an argument that a trial is required, this may justify the adjournment or dismissal of a summary judgment motion. This is not because of any automatic rule that no motion can be brought by a party in default, but because the moving party would not have discharged its burden on the motion to prove that a trial is unnecessary. The failure of a party to comply with undertakings may warrant an adjournment of a summary judgment motion, or be relevant to its outcome, however this will depend on the particular context. [Emphasis added] (Pritchard v. Roadknight, supra, at para. 14)

The use of the word “may” three times in this paragraph makes it clear that it is possible the failure to satisfy undertakings may lead to an adjournment or impact on the merits of a motion such as this one. There is no definitive rule calling for such a result. To the contrary, as the last words of the paragraph point out, it will depend on the specific facts of the particular case. In Pritchard v. Roadknight, the court observed that there was no demonstration that the information that would be forthcoming from satisfaction of the undertakings would materially affect the outcome of the motion. In fact, the information being sought was not relevant to the issue on the motion.

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