Ontario Civil

Civil Procedure

Change of solicitor

Law firm was disqualified from representing plaintiff

Plaintiff and corporate defendant were competitors. Personal defendant was officer of corporate defendant. Defendants asserted law firm for plaintiff was in conflict of interest because partner of law firm acted for personal defendant in two mortgage transactions in which personal defendant disclosed confidential information to law firm. Defendants brought motion to remove law firm for plaintiff. Motion granted. Law firm was disqualified from representing plaintiff in proceedings. Personal defendant provided lawyer with confidential financial information that could be used to his prejudice if information were shared with plaintiff. There was no evidence that conflicts check was done when personal defendant retained law firm. There was no evidence that law firm established protective screen, cone of silence or ethical wall to ensure that personal defendant’s confidential information was not shared within firm. Motion was not abuse of process or part of calculated tactic to derail litigation. Immediate interests of defendants were directly adverse at time lawyer accepted retainer. Fact that two retainers were unrelated did not prevent application of bright line rule.

A Big Mobile Sign Co. v. Curbex Ltd. (Mar. 23, 2016, Ont. S.C.J., R.E. Charney J., Barrie CV-15-0329) 265 A.C.W.S. (3d) 500.

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