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Monday, July 21, 2014

DA SILVA BECOMES OBA PRESIDENT

Ministry of the Attorney General counsel Orlando Da Silva is the new president of the Ontario Bar Association.

Da Silva replaces past president Pascale Daigneault in the role. Da Silva was previously the first vice president of the OBA, a role now filled by Edwin Upenieks. Elected to the position of second vice president is David Sterns of Sotos LLP.

In addition, Scotiabank senior legal counsel Lynne Vicars becomes the OBA’s treasurer.

COSTS ORDER AGAINST COUNSEL FOR TEMPLE

A Superior Court judge has ordered a lawyer to personally pay costs for furbishing “unfounded allegations” against the plaintiff in a case.

In 1250294 Ontario Ltd. v. 2141065 Ontario Inc., the plaintiff, lawyer Ben Martin, had brought a summary judgment motion for foreclosure of a Sikh temple on his property in Brampton, Ont. The judge granted the summary judgment motion and dismissed the defendants’ counterclaim.

During the summary judgment motion, the defendants’ counsel, Doug LaFramboise, caused unnecessary waste of resources, the court found, and ordered the lawyer to jointly or severally pay the $79,000 in costs awarded against his clients.

“The record for the motion establishes that it was Mr. LaFramboise who was the mastermind of the congregation’s corporation’s factual and legally untenable defence strategy that included serious and ultimately unfounded allegations of fraud and impropriety by Mr. Martin, including an allegation that Mr. Martin, who is an officer of this court, had misled and deceived the court,” wrote Justice Paul Perell in his July 8 reasons for his decision on costs.

He added: “In the case at bar, Mr. LaFramboise fashioned a defence for his client that was untenable and that falsely maligned the professional reputation of Mr. Martin. Absent an explanation from Mr. LaFramboise, this is an appropriate case to make him personally responsible for the costs of the proceedings in the amount of $79,021.50, all inclusive.”

RARE MALICIOUS PROSECUTION CASE

In an unusual decision, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice has awarded damages to a man in a malicious prosecution case where the defendant was a witness instead of police or the Crown.

Drainville v. Vilchez is an uncommon example of a successful malicious prosecution suit against a private individual.

“Normally, the person or entity against whom a malicious prosecution suit is brought is the police or the Crown,” wrote Justice Peter Howden on July 4.

“There are rare cases like this one where the complainant has been the defendant, without creating even a ripple on the surface of the lake of analytic discipline.”

Plaintiff Denis Drainville had been criminally charged and subsequently acquitted of mischief and dangerous driving. The person who had reported him to the police, Mario Vilchez, was the target of the malicious prosecution suit.

Vilchez lied to police about Drainville hitting him with his vehicle at a gas station in 2011 when, in fact, he had put his legs in contact with Drainville’s front bumper, the judge found.

The court ordered Vilchez to pay Drainville $23,866.37 for legal fees and the additional rent payment the plaintiff incurred because of the original criminal charges.

“He lied to the police knowing that a criminal prosecution against Mr. Drainville would follow,” wrote Howden.

BUDGET BOOST FOR LEGAL AID

Changes to Legal Aid Ontario’s certificate eligibility requirements will allow for assistance to an additional one million low-income Ontarians as the Liberals reintroduced their 2014 budget on July 14.

The fate of the changes hinged on the outcome of the recent provincial election as the campaign began after the Liberals announced expanded legal aid coverage in their original budget in May.

“Thanks to higher financial eligibility thresholds for legal aid, more low-income people will have access to justice,” said LAO chairman John McCamus.

“This new investment will make the courts work more efficiently by reducing the number of self-represented litigants in the judicial system — this is good news for all Ontarians.”

The change represents the first update to LAO’s eligibility threshold since the mid-1990s.

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