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Monday, May 16, 2011

LIBELLED LAWYER GETS $20K IN COSTS

Months after winning $50,000 in damages against a former client who libelled him, Pelham, Ont., lawyer Leigh Daboll is to receive $20,000 in costs on a partial indemnity basis.

Superior Court Justice Richard Lococo made the ruling last week. In doing so, he rejected Daboll’s bid for full indemnity costs at $56,749.

The case involved Mark DeMarco, who had retained Daboll in 2003 for matrimonial litigation with his estranged spouse. While the retainer ended soon after, a lengthy fee dispute ensued.

Eventually, advertisements began appearing in local newspapers under the title “Lawyer Crime Ontario.” The same ads appeared on dirtylawyer.com and lawsocietiesreform.com, two web sites run by DeMarco.

The ads referred to Daboll’s 2003 conviction for criminal harassment and findings of misconduct by the Law Society of Upper Canada.

In 1996, an LSUC panel reprimanded Daboll over findings that he had fabricated a subpoena to witness.

In 2003, he spent 65 days in pretrial custody before pleading guilty to criminal harassment of a woman who had previously been in a relationship with him.

He received three years’ probation, while the law society suspended him for 30 days. It also ordered him to pay costs and get counselling.

In 2006, the LSUC suspended him again, this time for two months, after a panel found he was in a conflict of interest by having a personal relationship with the estranged wife of a client while representing him against her in a family law proceeding.

In his decision dated Jan. 4, Lococo said DeMarco couldn’t rely on the defence of truth for his comments.

“Individual fragments of the advertisement arguably had some basis in fact but they were expressed and juxtaposed in a manner that I find to be inconsistent with the truth,” Lococo wrote.

“The clear implication of the advertisement is that at the time it appeared in the newspapers and/or the websites (that is from November 2009 to the time of trial), Mr. Daboll was allowed to practise law while being at that time on criminal probation and facing a further charge relating to ‘sex/personal relations clients wife.’”

For more on this story, see "Niagara lawyer wins $50K libel suit against former client."

HAMILTON BAR TAKES TO STAGE

A group of lawyers in Hamilton, Ont., is taking to the stage to raise funds for a local charity and theatre company.

The Hamilton Lawyers’ Show, put on by the Hamilton Lawyers’ Club and Theatre Aquarius, is a production of Robert Bolt’s A Man for All Seasons. The play is based on the life of Sir Thomas More, one of Henry VIII’s key advisers in the early part of his reign.

Proceeds from the three performances on June 2, 3, and 4 at the Dofasco Centre for the Arts in Hamilton will go to Theatre Aquarius and the Lawyers’ Legacy for Children.

The Hamilton Lawyers’ show has a long history dating back to 1983, when Ray Harris (now a Superior Court judge) directed a production of Twelve Angry Men. He had the support of prominent local lawyers Jeff Manishen and Randy Mazza, who’s also now a Superior Court judge.

For further details on tickets, go to hamiltonlawyersshow.com.

NEW HEAD OF CDLPA

Michael Johnston is the new chairman of the County and District Law Presidents’ Association.

Johnston, who practises at Stewart Corbett in Brockville, Ont., has been vice chairman of CDLPA since 2009.

He will now head the association, which represents the presidents of 48 local groups throughout the province, for an 18-month term.

Johnston, who was called to the bar in 1974, practises real estate law, wills and estates, corporate law, family law, and municipal law. He plans to make the greying of the bar a priority.

“Lawyers are aging, and in smaller communities there has been difficulty in attracting new lawyers,” Johnston told the Brockville Recorder and Times.

“If there’s not a reversal of what we see happening, in 10 to 15 years there’s going to be a shortage.”

LAWYER TO HEAD CONSTRUCTION GROUP

Blaney McMurtry LLP partner Tammy Evans has been elected president of the Canadian Association of Women in Construction at the organization’s annual meeting.

The organization, which recently celebrated its fifth anniversary, aims to facilitate the long-term success of women in the construction industry. Its membership includes skilled tradespeople, contractors, architectural and engineering professionals, and lawyers.

“While the construction industry promises significant career and business opportunities for women in a variety of trade, technical, and professional fields, we still have a long way to go and we must keep working toward a higher level of representation in our workforce and improved support of women in construction,” Evans said in a statement.

Evans belongs to Blaney McMurtry’s architectural, construction, and engineering services practice group that serves landowners, developers, and landlords.

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