Monday, July 9, 2012

The Law Society of Upper Canada shuffled the deck during Convocation proceedings on June 28.
Thomas Conway assumed his post as treasurer of the law society. He replaces Laurie Pawlitza in the role.

That opened the door for Ross Earnshaw, a partner at Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP’s office in Waterloo, Ont., to take a position as bencher to fill the vacancy left by Conway.

The province has appointed two lawyers as judges of the Ontario Court of Justice.
Cynthia Johnston, a deputy Crown attorney in Durham, joins the bench in Oshawa, Ont. Johnston will take the position July 11.

Allan Letourneau, a lawyer in Kingston, Ont., takes a position in that city on July 11.
In addition, Justice Martin Lambert becomes a regional senior judge in the northeast region. He took the position on June 27.

The Law Society of Upper Canada has made a finding of professional misconduct against Toronto lawyer Joseph Gouveia.

According to a June 11 decision, Gouveia abandoned his law practice some time around January or February 2011.

The order notes Gouveia failed to provide his current contact information to the law society, failed to advise an existing client in advance of his administrative suspension that he would be unable to complete her matter, and had the client sign an authorization and direction regarding settlement discussions and the release of funds.

Gouveia went on administrative suspension in September 2010.

The Ontario Court of Appeal has set aside an order by the Superior Court of Justice denying a Bay Street law firm a premium on its account in relation to a client.

The appeal court ruled in DeMichino v. Musialkiewicz that although the court should take the needs of Michele DeMichino, a man who suffered a catastrophic injury in 2003 following a car accident, into account, it should also consider the work of his former lawyers, Gary Neinstein and the law firm Neinstein and Associates LLP, in any settlement agreement.

“It goes without saying that any premium paid to counsel who helped a plaintiff in a tort action achieve a resolution of his or her claim will reduce the funds available to meet the plaintiff’s needs and otherwise compensate him or her for damages sustained,” wrote Justice Gloria Epstein in her decision.

“However, as important as those interests are, they must be balanced against the need to provide fair compensation for lawyers who assist in achieving the result.”

Because of DeMichino’s disability, court approval of any tort settlements in his case was necessary.
Superior Court Justice Lois Roberts ruled last year that Neinstein and the firm weren’t entitled to any premiums because it had transferred money out of DeMichino’s trust account into its general account prior to receiving court approval.

However, the firm didn’t attempt to hide the transfer and subsequently returned the money in full, Epstein noted.

As a result, Neinstein and the firm are to receive $216,000 plus $15,120 for fees and $29,512 for disbursements.

The appeal court has also ordered the respondent’s solicitors to pay more than $12,000 in interest.

Andrew Powers has joined Borden Ladner Gervais LLP.

Powers previously practised at Osler Hoskin & Harcourt LLP. His main areas of practice are securities and capital markets. He joins BLG as a partner.

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