The Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal in a long-running case over whether the billionaire founder of Apotex deprived his cousins of their rightful share of the generic pharmaceutical giant.
Barry Sherman was found dead with his wife Honey in their Toronto home in 2017 – an apparent double-homicide police have been unable to solve – and the civil case has continued against his estate.
The cousins said he owed them a share of his fortune because he hadn’t lived up to an obligation to take care of their interests in the family business after their own parents died.
Lower courts have rejected the cousins’ argument and, by refusing today to hear a final appeal, the Supreme Court is effectively saying those rulings were right.
As usual, the Supreme Court gave no reason for its decision.
In their August 2018 decision, judges with the Ontario Court of Appeal wrote that a lower court judge “did not accept the appellants’ interpretation of that evidence as giving rise to a fiduciary relationship or duty.
“Rather, he concluded that Dr. Sherman did not undertake to look after the appellants’ interests or ever abandon his own self-interest.”
Last year, the country’s top court agreed to hear another appeal involving the Shermans and their fortune.
In that case, the Supreme Court of Canada will review an Appeal Court’s decision to unseal files related to the Shermans’ estates.
In June 2018, a judge made orders sealing the files, which concern the appointment of estate trustees and would ordinarily be available for public inspection under the open court principle. The sealing order stemmed from the notion that individuals named as beneficiaries or trustees of the estates would be at risk of harm because the Shermans were murdered.
Soon after, a court denied a Toronto Star reporter access to the files.
The Ontario Court of Appeal overturned the decision, saying the idea trustees would be at risk amounted to speculation and provided no basis for a sealing order.
Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.