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Monday December 1, 2014

LAWYER ORDERED TO PAY WORKER $57K

The Ontario Superior Court has ordered a Gravenhurst, Ont., lawyer to pay $57,000 to a former clerical worker after a judge found he shut down his practice without proper notice to her.

Virginia Zeats, who worked for lawyer Lyle Sullivan for 33 years, took him to court alleging lack of notice and vacation pay owed to her.

Despite the lawyer’s argument that Zeats should have seen “the writing on the wall” about the firm’s impending closure, Superior Court Justice Margaret Eberhard found Zeats should get 18 months’ notice.

“The statement of defence asserts that the plaintiff should have known the office was necessarily going to close as the defendant declined in his involvement and that this should have been notice to her,” wrote Eberhard in Zeats v. Sullivan.

“I have no authority to support the assertion that a loyal employee should have seen the ‘writing on the wall’ and that the notice period should thereby be reduced.

“To the contrary, authority cited by the Plaintiff included numerous cases where the termination was in the context of a shutdown of the business, albeit for financial not personal reasons. Neither the financial performance of the business nor the employer’s subsequent bankruptcy reduce the notice period.”

POWERFUL WOMEN LAWYERS NAMED

Lawyers have made their mark on the list of Canada’s 100 most powerful women released last week.

At least 14 lawyers are on the list the Women’s Executive Network produces each year to highlight the professional achievements of women across the country.

The names on the top 100 for 2014 include:

•    Julia Shin Doi, general counsel and secretary of the board of governors, Ryerson University.

•    Anne Kirker, partner, Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP.

•    Lisa Borsook, executive partner, WeirFoulds LLP.

•    Heather Treacy, office managing partner, Calgary, Davis LLP.

•    Norie Campbell, group head, compliance and anti-money laundering and general counsel, TD Bank Group.

•    Jane Gavan, chief executive officer, Dream Office REIT.

•    Anne Giardini, former president, Weyerhaeuser Co.

•    Joanne Alexander, senior vice president, general counsel, and corporate secretary, Precision Drilling Corp.

•    Kate Chisholm, senior vice president, legal and external relations, Capital Power Corp.

•    Samantha Horn, partner, Stikeman Elliott LLP.

•    Emily Jelich, vice president and associate general counsel, operations and disputes resolution, RBC.

•    Monique Mercier, executive vice president, corporate affairs, chief legal officer and corporate secretary, Telus Communications Co.

•    Cheryl Reicin, partner, head of the technology and life sciences practice groups, Torys LLP.

•    Julia Deans, chief executive officer, Futurpreneur Canada.   

CONWAY CELEBRATES LAUNCH OF LITIGATION BOUTIQUE

Former Law Society of Upper Canada treasurer Tom Conway is part of a new Ottawa litigation boutique that celebrated its launch last month.

Conway Baxter Wilson LLP celebrated its launch on Nov. 13 after partners Conway, Colin Baxter, and David Wilson formed their bilingual litigation practice earlier this year.

The firm, which restricts its practice to litigation only, will serve clients in the areas of commercial and administrative law.

Conway Baxter Wilson’s lawyers raised a glass with clients and colleagues at the launch party last month at Play Food & Wine restaurant in Ottawa’s ByWard Market.

LAWYER INDUCTED TO ORDER OF OTTAWA

The City of Ottawa has named Dentons Canada LLP lawyer Gregory Kane to the Order of Ottawa for his contributions to the city.

Kane, who has practised law since 1973, is a former adjunct professor at the University of Ottawa and former counsel to the General Legal Council in Ghana. He has also served as associate general counsel to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.

“This honour is so well-deserved. Greg is a highly respected lawyer and volunteer — he works very hard to make a difference for our city and in the lives of so many,” said David Little, managing partner of Dentons’ Ottawa office.

“We congratulate Greg on this wonderful recognition and we are very proud to have him as part of our team at Dentons.”

Dentons says Kane dedicates “countless hours” volunteering with the Ottawa Hospital Foundation, the National Arts Centre Gala, the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards Foundation Gala Committee

POLL RESULTS

The results of the latest Law Times online poll are in.

According to the poll, 58 per cent of respondents say Ontario Court Justice Gethin Edward got it wrong when he allowed an aboriginal family to take their daughter with cancer off chemotherapy.

The decision, based on the constitutional right of aboriginal people to pursue traditional medicine, created an instant controversy. Some lawyers told Law Times they found the decision “shocking” while others said it “rolls back time to a pre-scientific era.”

“What is glaringly absent from the decision is any meaningful consideration of the child’s best interest,” said Toronto health lawyer Alan Belaiche.

“And in lieu, the judge appears to have decided that a constitutional principle will trump all other considerations, including, most importantly, the best interest of the child.”

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