(File photo)

Court grants injunction preventing sale of learning centre’s assets pending trial

Supreme civil proceedings set for 15 days starting in August

A judge has ordered owners of a South Surrey early-learning centre to hang on to the private school’s assets and not change who controls it, pending civil court proceedings to determine the rights to those assets.

Those proceedings are scheduled to get underway this summer.

A judgment posted to the B.C. Supreme Court website Wednesday (Jan. 31) outlines the injunction concerning New Beginnings Early Learning Ltd.’s Morgan Crossing location. It also applies to the business’s Richmond site.

According to the court document, the businesses have franchise agreements with CEFA Systems Inc., and legal proceedings concerning both have been initiated.

CEFA claims it lawfully terminated the agreements after the corporate plaintiffs breached them through “unauthorized de-branding of the schools,” and now wants to enforce its contractual rights to purchase the assets and have proprietary material returned. As well, damages are sought, including “for the corporate plaintiffs’ unauthorized use of proprietary information in operating their new schools.”

The plaintiffs – identified as Mark Leslie and Jackie Jackson – assert that they elected to rescind the agreements and their respective guarantees on the basis they were “induced to enter them as a result of intentionally false and misleading misrepresentations of CEFA and its founder, the co-defendant, Natacha Beim.”

The plaintiffs also seek damages for breach of contract. A 15-day trial is set to get underway on Aug. 12.

CEFA sought the injunction to ensure its contractual rights under the agreements aren’t rendered moot before its claim to those rights can be determined at trial.

CEFA is a system of private junior kindergarten schools that was founded by Beim in approximately 1998. Since franchising in 2002, approximately 20 schools have opened in the Lower Mainland and Toronto using the CEFA program.

READ MORE: New early learning private school opens in South Surrey

Evidence with respect to Beim’s education background, degrees and teaching credentials is “one of the key factual disputes in this case,” the court document notes.

The plaintiffs allege Beim’s representations were “not only false, but were made knowingly by representatives of CEFA as well as Ms. Beim, with the intention of inducing them to enter into those agreements.”

In outlining events leading to CEFA’s August 2018 termination of the agreements, the judgment notes it is “highly significant” that the allegations of misrepresentations were not in the original draft and filed notice of claim – which concerned CEFA’s financial well-being, licensing approvals in Canada and the absence of lawsuits against CEFA – but surfaced during the exchange of affidavits in preparation for the most recent hearing, “and after CEFA demonstrated in affidavit evidence that the financial misrepresentation claim was highly suspect and on a balance of probabilities seemingly without merit.”

The judgment notes that a company owned by Leslie purchased the assets of a CEFA school in Langley just four months prior, has since sold that property to a third party and is presently in litigation with the purchaser for damages based on alleged misrepresentations and breach of contract.

Additional points noted in the judgment include acknowledgement that the plaintiffs “had been planning for months” to convert their CEFA schools into competing businesses, and opened a competing business on the same premises, prior to delivering a notice of rescission – steps the CEFA franchise agreement prohibits.

CEFA issued a termination notice once aware of the de-branding activities, the court document states.

Beim’s education background is the “main thrust” of the plaintiffs’ rescission claim.

The judgment describes points raised as “all serious issues to be tried.” At the same time, “the plaintiffs have not established that Ms. Beim and CEFA have come to court without clean hands.”

“The questions raised by the plaintiffs… are not a basis to deny the relief sought by CEFA on this application.”

The ruling does not prevent the schools from continuing to operate and collect revenue.

Just Posted

Surrey RCMP need help to find missing man

Denis Godard, 64, who was reported missing on Sept. 19

Surrey council sends back 25-storey highrise proposal, asks for more height and density

Developer says it is ‘currently reviewing direction’ from mayor, council

Cloverdale Community Kitchen hosts ‘learning’ breakfast for students

Coast Capital Savings offered short presentations on financial topics

PHOTOS: Surrey seniors band together at weekly jam sessions

‘My policy is to keep busy doing stuff like this, and you gotta have a smile doing it,’ one woman says

Student arrested at South Delta Secondary for alleged assault

The alleged assault occurred between two SDSS students on Wednesday, Sept. 18

PHOTOS: Young protesters in B.C. and beyond demand climate change action

Many demonstaers were kids and teens who skipped school to take part

Former B.C. lifeguard gets house arrest for possession of child porn

Cees Vanderniet of Grand Forks will serve six months of house arrest, then two years’ probation

Crown alleges resentment of ex-wife drove Oak Bay father to kill his daughters

Patrick Weir alleged in his closing arguments that Andrew Berry is responsible for the deaths of his daughters

‘I’d do it again,’ says B.C. man who swam naked, drunk in Toronto shark tank

David Weaver, of Nelson, was drunk when he went to Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto on Oct. 12 2018

How to react to Trudeau’s racist photos? With humility, B.C. prof says

‘We are now treating racism as a crime that you cannot recover from’

VIDEO: Fire destroys Williams Lake strip club targeted by past arson attempts

Diamonds and Dust Entertainment Lounge destroyed by fire, as well as New World Tea and Coffee House

Victoria man spots online photo of his totem pole 11 years after it was stolen

Mark Trueman restored the pole himself before it was stolen off of his property in Duncan

Vancouver police get green light to use drones for investigations

Drones will be used to investigate motor vehicle collisions, crime scene analysis and more

‘Not acceptable’: Ad mistakenly suggests Abbotsford police endorse Liberal candidate

Jati Sidhu said advertisement only appeared for 30 minutes and was created by Montreal company

Most Read