A moving company that was sued by the Vancouver Canucks for breaching a sponsorship agreement has agreed to pay the team approximately $190,000 – though its ability to raise the funds remains to be seen.
Vancouver Canucks Limited Partnership sued the company, Galaxy Moving and Storage, in July, 2014. The team said Galaxy was designated its "preferred moving supplier" for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 hockey seasons and received billboard advertising and referrals in exchange for a fee. However, it said Galaxy then refused to pay its bill and continued to call itself "the official movers of the Vancouver Canucks."
Galaxy had denied finalizing the sponsorship agreement, but agreed in B.C. Supreme Court on Wednesday to pay $94,500 in damages, more than $83,000 in relief, $8,000 in costs and approximately $1,450 in interest. Galaxy also agreed to remove any mention of the Canucks on its website within three weeks.
The trial, which began Wednesday, had been scheduled to run for three days. However, Sean Giesbrecht, Galaxy's operations manager, told the court the company was not in a position to mount a defence. Galaxy did not have a lawyer and Mr. Giesbrecht served as its representative.
"We're in a position right now that Revenue Canada has seized all of our assets, including trucks, all physical assets and bank accounts, and we have an arrears balance with them of about $200,000. So we have zero assets," he said.
"So, at this point, we're not in a position to even defend ourselves in this case, so we're forced to basically just accept what they're suing for."
After a brief adjournment, Angela Crimeni, the lawyer representing the Canucks, said Mr. Giesbrecht had agreed to a judgment against the company.
She said the amount awarded in damages was for the breach of the sponsorship agreement, while the amount awarded in relief was for unjust enrichment.
Ms. Crimeni also obtained an injunction requiring Galaxy to refrain from using the team's name and logo in its advertising. If the company does not comply with the injunction, the team can serve an application for contempt.
Despite its financial troubles, Mr. Giesbrecht told the court he is in the process of purchasing Galaxy from its owner.
Chris Gear, the Canucks' chief legal counsel who was in the courtroom but did not argue the case, in a statement wrote the team was "satisfied" with the judgment.
However, he said it was also "disappointed to learn that Canadian Revenue Agency appears to have recently taken its own enforcement action against Galaxy, which may make recovery of our damages challenging."
"We haven't yet confirmed the details of Galaxy's obligations to CRA and will need to do that before determining any next steps regarding fair payment for the value they received from us," he wrote.
The Canucks' notice of civil claim said it entered into an agreement with Galaxy in January, 2013. It said the agreement called for Galaxy to pay the team $90,000, plus GST, for a total of $94,500. It said it also provided Galaxy with more than $87,000 in referrals and displayed its virtual signage advertising at 11 games.
Galaxy had said in its response that the parties reached a verbal agreement and it was never finalized. It said the Canucks went ahead without Galaxy's approval and the team then "arbitrarily inflated" its prices.
The Canucks said the sponsorship agreement was contained or inferred in draft written agreements for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons, as well as e-mails between the parties.