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The recent news that Australia’s Slater & Gordon, the world’s first publicly listed law firm, was buying the professional services arm of the British insurance claims processor Quindell for the equivalent of $1.16 billion is bound to give Ontario opponents of alternative business structures plenty of grist for the mill.
Following his disbarment for overbilling the Ministry of the Attorney General, lawyer Munyonzwe Hamalengwa says his actions were unintentional and blames the stress of defending Richard Wills for his mistakes.
Monday, 20 April 2015 08:00

Editorial: ABS not the only issue

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With less than two weeks to go, there have been lots of interesting developments in the Law Society of Upper Canada bencher election campaign.
Tarion Warranty Corp., like other organizations designated by statute to administer consumer protection, has the authority to operate with oversight but also with a measure of independence that benefits the delivery of services. The government conceptualized and implemented this decision on a proven model and created the delegated administrative authority model to provide for the effective delivery of services while removing the risk to taxpayers.
We are members of the Ontario Solicitor Network, a group of lawyers who believe that a more diverse Convocation that includes a larger and fairer number of solicitors is in the best interests of the legal profession and the public.
In Richard Cleroux’s article about the conflict between Canada’s chief justice and the prime minister, you point out that in addition to the problem of judicial appointments, there is a clash of views over the proposed monument to the victims of communism that is to be built next to the Supreme Court building in Ottawa (see “Communist memorial yet another source of discord with judges,” Feb. 2).
The trilogy of cases surrounding the Supreme Court of Canada’s 2013 decision in Pro-Sys Consultants Ltd. v. Microsoft Corp. is perhaps best known for its rejection of the American doctrine prohibiting antitrust class actions against indirect purchasers.
Monday, 20 April 2015 08:00

Auto insurance rancour heats up

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The rancour among personal injury lawyers and the insurance industry continues to heat up with both sides trading accusations over who’s responsible for high insurance premiums in Ontario.
STAY GRANTED IN HEYDARY CASE
The Ontario Court of Appeal has stayed an order to pay the former clients of the late lawyer Javad Heydary from his LawPRO insurance pending an appeal by his former colleagues.

The former clients, Samira and Hasan Abuzour, lost $3.6 million after Heydary, who was to hold the funds in trust for them, disappeared amid an investigation into the missing money before being declared dead.

Last year, Superior Court Justice Michael Penny awarded the Abuzours the amount remaining in Heydary’s $1-million coverage under LawPRO’s innocent party insurance.

But Heydary’s former colleagues — Jeff Landmann, Yan Wang, and Darren Smith — brought a motion to vary that order on the basis that they hadn’t received enough notice on an issue that interests them as non-parties. The lawyers claimed the LawPRO policy applied to them as well as Heydary and the garnishment of the insurance, with a limit of $1 million, would leave them without coverage should they face a lawsuit.

While the court heard and denied that motion, the lawyers are appealing the decision. Recently, LawPRO brought a motion to stay the garnishment order pending the appeal. Last week, appeal court Justice Grant Huscroft granted the stay.

“The strongest argument in favour of granting a stay is one of basic fairness,” wrote Huscroft.

“The problem at the heart of these proceedings results from the failure of the Abuzours to provide proper notice to Landmann, Wang, and Smith of the first motion before Penny J. Had notice been provided, they would have been able to appeal the October 28 order and that order would have been stayed automatically pursuant to rule 63.01(1).”

For more, see "LawPRO ordered to indemnify Heydary's victims."

MCCARTHYS PARTNER GIVEN HONORARY JOB
McCarthy Tétrault LLP partner Chia-yi Chua has been appointed an honorary consul general of Singapore.

The appointment comes as Philip Eng, Singapore’s high commissioner to Canada, formally opened the Singapore consulate general at McCarthys’ Toronto office.

“We are extremely proud of Chia-yi and we welcome the opening of the consulate general in our offices,” said Marc-André Blanchard, chairman and chief executive officer of McCarthys.

“This appointment celebrates Chia-yi’s ability to cultivate significant relationships and his capacity to provide strategic advice as it relates to the Asian marketplace. In my view, this new responsibility speaks to his birth country’s confidence in his sharp judgment and professional expertise.”

Chua acts as counsel for sectors including the financial services, telecommunications, resource, and retail industries.

“Canada and Singapore are gateway economies, both major players in their respective parts of the world,” said Jean Charest, a partner at McCarthys and a former premier of Quebec.

“Chia-yi is a superb choice and will continue to nurture this significant relationship between our nations. My hearty congratulations to him on this esteemed appointment.”

TED CITROME JOINS DICKINSON WRIGHT
Former Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP lawyer Ted Citrome has joined Dickinson Wright LLP as of counsel in the firm’s taxation practice.

Citrome will focus on all aspects of Canadian tax law with an emphasis on the taxation of acquisitions, reorganizations, and corporate finance, the firm said.

“I look forward to leveraging my wide industry and legal experience, to provide Dickinson Wright’s clients with the tax advice they need to develop, strengthen, and grow their businesses in Canada,” said Citrome.   

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

An overwhelming majority of respondents say the Ontario government should bring Tarion Warranty Corp. under the ambit of the provincial ombudsman, the auditor general, and the sunshine list.

About 92 per cent of respondents agree with proposed changes affecting the private non-profit corporation that administers and enforces the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act.

NDP MPP Jagmeet Singh has tabled a private member’s bill to address the issue. If passed, bill 60 would bring Tarion under the jurisdiction of both the Ontario ombudsman and the auditor general as well the public sector salary disclosure legislation. More recently, Law Times columnist Alan Shanoff wrote a column advocating for changes he said would bring more accountability and transparency at Tarion.
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Law Times poll

Who's right in the continuing battle between personal injury lawyers and the insurance industry over who's responsible for high auto insurance costs?
Personal injury lawyers. The insurance industry makes plenty of money.
The insurance industry. Lawyers push up costs through generous contingency fees.
Neither. Both groups are in it for themselves.