Monday, February 9, 2015

Former lawyers at Heydary Hamilton PC have lost a motion to reverse an order that allowed clients of deceased lawyer Javad Heydary to garnish funds from his LawPRO insurance coverage.

The lawyers claimed the policy applied to them as well as Heydary and that the garnishment of the insurance, with a limit of $1 million, would leave them without coverage should they face a lawsuit.

Last year, Superior Court Justice Michael Penny found Samira and Hasan Abuzour should receive the amount remaining from Heydary’s $1-million coverage under LawPRO’s “innocent party” insurance.

The moving parties asked the court to vary that order, saying the Abuzours must commence a new proceeding specifically alleging negligence or fraud against Heydary before any indemnity obligation arises on LawPRO’s part.

“I am unable to agree,” Penny wrote in his recent decision on the matter.

“There is not the slightest hint in all the material before me that Heydary had any defence or lawful excuse for not paying the money.”

He added: “It would be formalistic in the extreme, to the point of absurdity, to require the applicants at this stage to commence and obtain judgment against Heydary in yet another proceeding before being able to make a claim to the benefit of Heydary’s LawPRO coverage.”

Heydary disappeared in 2013 amid allegations of $3.6 million in missing client funds. He was later declared dead.

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

Disbarred lawyer Harry Kopyto doesn’t have the good character required to become a paralegal in Ontario, according to the Law Society Tribunal.

The law society disbarred Kopyto in 1989 after finding he had overbilled legal aid by $150,000. In recent years, he has faced the good-character proceedings as he seeks a licence as a paralegal.

According to a ruling issued by the tribunal’s hearing division last week, Kopyto has admitted to practising law after his disbarment.

“Mr. Kopyto acknowledges that he is not rule-observant. As he explains this, he is governed by his conscience and refuses to obey the law when to do so would lead to an unjust result. He counsels his clients to obey the law unless a higher moral duty calls upon them to breach it. He testified that the public interest comes first, not his clients. Mr. Kopyto asks us to stand up against the narrow ideology and sanctioned perceptions of the legal profession, and to disregard his breaches of the rules governing paralegals’ scope of practice. He characterizes his unauthorized practice as political activism promoting access to justice, an area where, he claims, the society has utterly failed to achieve its mandate.”

Kopyto, who likened himself to rule breakers like Rosa Parks and Mahatma Gandhi, pointed to his “empathetic qualities,” the panel noted. “We have no difficulty concluding that Mr. Kopyto is sincerely devoted to pursuing his clients’ causes, and that he has great empathy for them. He is generous, he is appreciated by his clients, and he is dedicated to them.

“And although these qualities denote good character, they do not justify permitting an individual to provide legal services who considers himself to be exempt from applicable laws and rules, including those regulating his profession, whenever his conscience finds it to be convenient.”

For more, see "Kopyto's long battle with LSUC."

Several lawyers and judges were among the recent appointees to the Order of Ontario.

Among those honoured by Lt.-Gov. Elizabeth Dowdeswell were former Ontario chief justice Warren Winkler and Sidney Linden, who served as chief justice of the Ontario Court of Justice, as well as lawyers Gilles LeVasseur and Eva Marszewski. The appointees also include former Ontario Court justice Maryka Omatsu.

Winkler, a former labour lawyer, has joined Arbitration Place since leaving the office of the chief justice of Ontario. Linden, who was Ontario’s first information and privacy commissioner, also served as chairman of Legal Aid Ontario as well as commissioner for the Ipperwash public inquiry.

LeVasseur is a lawyer and a professor at the University of Ottawa’s business department. According to the government of Ontario, he has spent “more than 25 years working to protect, promote, and enhance the constitutional and language rights of Ontario’s francophone community.”

Marszewski, meanwhile, is the founder and executive director of Peacebuilders International. Omatsu, Canada’s first Asian-Canadian female judge, was a member of the negotiation team for the National Association of Japanese Canadians in its quest for Canadian redress for the internment during the Second World War.

Dentons Canada LLP has admitted four new lawyers to the partnership at its Ontario offices.

The four are among 17 lawyers who made partnership across six offices in Canada. In Toronto, the new partners include financial services lawyer Kori Williams, employment lawyer Andy Pushalik, and commercial real estate lawyer Scott Martyn. The sole new partner at the Ottawa office is Rob Davis, a lawyer who advises clients on venture capital, private equity financing, and cross-border transactions.

Former Federal Court of Appeal justice Karen Sharlow has joined Osler Hoskin & Harcourt LLP’s tax practice group.

At Osler, Sharlow will be advising on case strategy. Her addition will enhance the firm’s ability to deliver “unparalleled tax litigation services to our clients,” said Monica Biringer, co-chairwoman of Osler’s tax department.

Biringer also said Sharlow would serve as a mentor at the firm. “Now more than ever, clients require a singular level of expertise in tax advocacy. Karen brings a unique perspective to tax litigation — an area of business critical importance to our clients,” said Biringer.
The results of the latest Law Times online poll are in.

According to the poll, the majority of respondents aren’t welcoming the recent Ontario rule change allowing parties up to five years to set an action down for trial. In fact, 65 per cent of respondents said the change from two years to five years would lead to files languishing for too long.

As of Jan. 1, Ontario repealed Rule 48.15 of the Rules of Civil Procedure and replaced it with a provision that says the court will dismiss matters not been put down for trial after five years without further notice to lawyers.

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