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Monday, November 29, 2010

LAWYER DISBARRED OVER MORTGAGE DEALS

Mississauga lawyer Mariano Mazzucco has had his licence revoked after a Law Society of Upper Canada hearing panel found he knowingly assisted in a mortgage fraud scheme worth almost $7 million.

According to the findings, Mazzucco was advanced the money for 20 different mortgage transactions.

The panel found he misapplied the funds by disbursing them to other participants in the fraud scheme, himself, and clients he owed money to.

Mazzucco was also given 30 days to pay the law society $5,000 in costs.

GOWLINGS PARTNER TO HEAD CFIA PANEL

The federal government has appointed Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP partner Ronald Doering to chair a ministerial advisory board to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said the panel of seven industry experts would strengthen Canada’s food safety system in the wake of Ontario’s 2008 listeriosis outbreak.

“This outstanding group of individuals will be a vital, external source that will advise on how to further strengthen our food safety system,” Ritz said.

“This highly qualified and diverse advisory board builds upon our government’s increased investments, hiring of more inspectors, and enhanced listeria testing.”

Doering was president of the CFIA from 1998 to 2002.

In addition to more than 35 years of experience in law, public policy, and administration, he has broad experience in all aspects of food and agricultural law, including labelling, recalls, biotechnology regulation, plant protection, and animal health.

SABA HONOURS RAJ ANAND

The South Asian Bar Association has presented its 2010 Distinguished Career Award to WeirFoulds LLP partner Raj Anand.

Anand is a senior civil litigation, administrative, and human rights lawyer as well as a Law Society of Upper Canada bencher.

He is a former chief commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission and was recently appointed by the Ontario government to set up the Human Rights Legal Support Centre.

“We all congratulate Raj on this achievement and hope the South Asian Bar Association might plan to create a ‘Longer Distinguished Career Award,’ for which he is eminently qualified,” said Lisa Borsook, managing partner at WeirFoulds.

EZRA LEVANT TO PAY $25K FOR LIBEL

On Ontario judge has ordered free-speech advocate Ezra Levant to pay $25,000 for libelling Canadian Human Rights Commission lawyer Giacomo Vigna.

Superior Court Justice Robert Smith said Alberta-based Levant’s “reckless disregard” for the truth in his comments mocking Vigna made them malicious.  

Smith found Levant had defamed Vigna six times in blog posts between March and May 2008, including occasions on which he accused the lawyer of lying to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, switching evidence, and being fired.

Vigna had been prosecuting Marc Lemire in a case related to hate speech on the web site freedomsite.org. In May 2007, an adjournment was granted because of Vigna’s undisclosed illness and security fears. He was later replaced by another lawyer.

Months later, Levant used the episode as part of what Smith called his “ulterior purpose of denormalizing the Human Rights Commission across Canada.”

Smith rejected Levant’s attempt to use the new responsible communication defence because he hadn’t done enough to check his facts or get Vigna’s side of the story.

MILLER THOMSON REBRANDS ITSELF

Miller Thomson LLP has launched a new brand it says will reaffirm its “progressive, no-nonsense approach” to business law and litigation.

The new national brand includes a new visual identity, web site, and marketing campaign to highlight the value of its 450 lawyers who work at nine offices scattered across the country.

“We have grown substantially through mergers since the late 1990s and this brand effort is designed to reinforce the national culture that has been developing within our firm over the last 10 years,” said Gerald Courage, chairman of Miller Thomson.

“We are not merely a collection of offices spanning the country. Our people share a vision - one that commits us to delivering practical, creative, and cost-effective advice to our clients every day.”

The firm started out in 1957 with six Toronto lawyers and has grown through a number of mergers with law firms across Canada. “Our brand launch is the beginning of the next phase of the firm’s growth ambitions,” said Pierre Paquet, a partner in the firm’s Montreal office.

“We see substantial opportunities in Canadian and international markets, based on our genuine, reliable, and open approach to doing business.”

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