NEW ONT. COURT JUDGE APPOINTED
Sandra Marina Bacchus has been appointed to the Ontario Court of Justice to preside in Toronto.
She was called to the bar in 1993 and became an assistant Crown attorney in Scarborough, Ont., prosecuting sexual assault, domestic assault, child abuse, and other criminal cases in both the provincial and Superior courts.
Between 1998 and 2000, she was senior Crown counsel at the Supreme Court of Bermuda. More recently, she was deputy Crown attorney in the Scarborough Crown’s office.
Since February 2010, she has been working with the Ministry of the Attorney General’s criminal law division advising on projects such as Justice on Target.
PARTIES AWAITING NEXT REVIEW OF GTAA MATTER
A $500,000 arbitration award that sent shock waves through the labour relations community will go back for reassessment after a Divisional Court ruling partly upheld an application for judicial review.
C.B., a 47-year-old employee of the Greater Toronto Airports Authority, was awarded the damages after arbitrator Owen Shime found the GTAA had acted in bad faith when it dismissed her following an injury sustained at work.
The award included $50,000 in damages for pain, suffering, and mental distress and a further $50,000 in punitive damages. It’s those two awards that are before Shime once again.
In a recent ruling, the Divisional Court found Shime was entitled to award damages for mental distress but said the award for pain and suffering related to the employee’s knee wasn’t supported by the evidence and required the $50,000 for both to be broken down.
It also ordered Shime to reconsider his punitive damages award because of deficiencies in his reasons for it.
The GTAA had asked for the matter to go before a different arbitrator, but the Divisional Court decided it was impractical for anyone other than Shime to handle it because the drawn-out process would have to start all over again.
The first arbitration hearing took place more than five years ago in August 2005.
In 2003, C.B. injured her knee at work and was eventually referred for surgery in February 2004. Her surgeon provided a note saying she would need four weeks to recover.
The GTAA, faced with a costly absenteeism problem, conducted surveillance of some employees suspected of fraudulently claiming sick leave. It didn’t initially suspect C.B., but because her partner was under surveillance, the GTAA decided to follow her, too.
In his original decision, Shime condemned the GTAA for relying on the video evidence, failing to seek medical corroboration for its opinions, and neglecting to consider C.B.’s exemplary disciplinary record.
For more on this story, see "Ruling sends shockwaves."
YWCA HONOURS LAW FOUNDATION HEAD
Law Foundation of Ontario CEO Elizabeth Goldberg has been named a YWCA 2011 Woman of Distinction in law and justice.
The organization recognized Goldberg for her efforts to help women advance in the legal
profession and public service.
While working for the Ministry of the Attorney General’s constitutional law branch, she challenged the ministry’s restriction of women to non-litigation positions.
She also persuaded the ministry to top up maternity leave benefits available through employment insurance.
She will pick up her award at a YWCA gala on May 18 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
FASKENS GOES GREEN
Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP has gone green in South Africa by moving its Johannesburg office to an eco-friendly location in the city.
The firm has relocated to Green Park Sandton, Johannesburg’s first urban environmental lifestyle development.
“We are still offering the same first-grade expertise, the same high standards of service, and the advice of the same qualified people.
But we will now be doing it in a greener location, one that fits our corporate social responsibility philosophy,” said Al Gourley, Faskens’ managing partner for South Africa.