BRAY v. STANDARD COMMERCIAL CORP.
ONTARIO SUPERIOR COURT OF JUSTICE
November 15, 2002
The applicant, Standard Commercial Corporation, ("Standard") is a limited company
incorporated pursuant to the laws of the State of North Carolina, with its head office in that
The respondent, James Henry Bray is a Canadian citizen and a resident of this
Mr. Bray commenced this action against Standard on October 16, 2001.
the sum of $2.2 million U.S. together with interest, alleging that that sum was owing to him as a
consequence of certain contractual dealings between the two of them and third parties, and he
claimed the further sum of $12 million U.S. as punitive damages for the harm suffered as a
consequence of his loss of income and from the manner in which Standard carried on its business
with certain of his clients.
The statement of claim was served upon Standard in the State of North Carolina, without
a court order, and on December 12, 2001 this motion was brought.
The motion seeks an order
staying the action on the ground that this court lacks jurisdiction to adjudicate the claims asserted
in it, and, in any event, that the court is not the appropriate forum for that adjudication.
I begin my review of the evidence tendered on this motion with a summary of the
statement of claim.
Mr. Bray was acting on his own behalf when he issued it, and it seems to me
to be perfectly obvious that he drafted it without the assistance of counsel.
It leaves a good deal
to be desired.
He alleges in it that he resides at Port Stanley (in the County of Elgin) and carries on the
business of "buying, selling and brokering" tobacco and tobacco products. He alleges that
Standard is in the business of "the wholesaling of tobacco and tobacco products", that it
sometimes carries on that business as "Standard Commercial Tobacco Corporation", (I shall refer
to that entity henceforth as `Standard Tobacco') and that the business is carried on worldwide.
Mr. Bray bases his claim for the debt of $2.2 million U.S. on two contracts that he says
he entered into with Standard. He alleges that the first contract was entered into in June
By its terms, Mr. Bray was to be paid $.20 U.S. per pound of all tobacco sold to the
Mr. Bray alleges that he has not been paid his commission for the sale of one
million pounds of the tobacco that was sold, and so $200,000 U.S. is owing with respect to that
Mr. Bray alleges that the second contract was entered into in 1994.
By its terms, Mr.
Bray was to be paid a commission of $.20 U.S. per pound for all tobacco sold to a firm known as
Commonwealth Brands in the State of Kentucky. Mr. Bray alleges that he has not been paid his
commission for the sale of 10 million pounds of the tobacco that was sold, and so $2 million
U.S. is owing with respect to that second contract.