Lawyer Gavin Tighe says his client has no plans to appeal the law society tribunal’s final decision
Windsor lawyer Claudio Martini has had his licence to practice revoked after the Law Society of Ontario tribunal found that since 2002, he improperly borrowed money from clients, failed to advance actions on their behalf, misled clients that their cases had remained ongoing and “misappropriated funds held in trust and subject to an escrow agreement.”
The tribunal ruled that Martini’s “licence to practise law is revoked, effective immediately.”
The decision concludes a lengthy process since April 2015, when the tribunal first suspended Martini’s licence for several professional misconduct actions. He also faced further disciplinary action after he attempted to continue providing legal services while his licence was suspended.
Windsor Star reported that Martini’s lawyer, Gavin Tighe indicated his client has no plans to appeal the law society tribunal’s final decision.
“Mr. Martini has never sought to continue to practise law and was always prepared to agree to the revocation of his licence to practise,” said Tighe.
“Mr. Martini readily acknowledged the breach of escrow terms which was the primary basis of revocation from literally day one of what is now nearly a decade-long odyssey with the (law society).”
Tighe said Martini disagreed with the allegation that he stole client funds. “It was that issue which was at the heart of the battle before the tribunal,” he said.
The tribunal concluded that Martini did not misappropriate client money but found that he misappropriated his own funds as the escrow condition had not been fulfilled when he withdrew the funds. Tighe said he [Martini] never stole any client’s money” and that any depiction in that regard are “salacious allegations” by a former client that were “completely false and fabricated.”
“We obviously have no intention of appealing a decision which vindicated our client on the only issue he actually disputed,” Tighe said. “Winners do not generally appeal.”
Martini and his former law partner Maria Marusic had launched a joint appeal of their ongoing suspensions to the tribunal over a year ago. However, a tribunal ruling in May determined that both lawyers were to remain suspended pending final decisions on their licences.
Martini and Marusic were law partners dating back to 2000, then in 2001 also became romantic partners, according to the LSO findings.
Marusic was initially allowed by the tribunal in 2015 to continue her practice as a lawyer with several restrictions after she provided testimony under oath of ending her personal relationship with Martini due to his alleged improper financial actions. However, she also had her licence indefinitely suspended after the LSO learned through emails between the pair that it was “misled” by Marusic about her ongoing relationship with Martini.
The LSO also claimed that Marusic further aided Martini to continue providing legal services despite his suspension “and in doing so failed to conduct herself with integrity.”
There remains no final decision by the tribunal yet on Marusic’s ongoing license suspension.
In late 2021, while the joint appeal hearing was ongoing, Martini and Marusic got married, the tribunal found.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This article has been clarified to indicate that Martini did not misappropriate client funds but instead misappropriated his own funds when it was held in escrow