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Court finds lawyer personally liable for costs

Topics: - Wrongful Dismissal
Jurisdiction: - British Columbia
Sector: - Education

The BC Supreme Court recently ruled on a complicated cost application in Davies v. Canada Shineray Suppliers Group Inc., 2017 BCSC 1729. At trial the plaintiff was successful in obtaining wrongful dismissal damages and aggravated damages, but did not succeed in voiding a termination clause. 

The court considered six separate cost applications, from both the plaintiff and defendant, all of which stand on their own as discrete but important issues that can arise around the awarding of costs. 

As summary, the court rejected the defendant's argument that the plaintiff had not achieved substantial success. However, it did agree to an application by the defendant that the defendant's original trial lawyer be personally liable for costs awarded against the defendant. While it found the lawyer's conduct did not warrant special costs, not being "reprehensible conduct that requires punishment, but rather neglectful conduct that requires compensation", party and party costs were awarded for three of the nine days of trial.   read more »

BC Human Rights Tribunal reviews social media request for legal advice to determine if communication privileged

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia

In Hov v. School District No. 43 and another, 2017 BCHRT 162, the complainant sought disclosure of a conversation conducted via Facebook Messenger by an individually named respondent, in which the respondent sought, and seemingly obtained, legal advice from an Ontario lawyer.

The respondents claimed solicitor-client privilege over the communications but the Tribunal ordered the conversations to be disclosed directly to the Tribunal so they could assess if the documents should be protected by privilege. The Tribunal's rationale was that there was an insufficient description of the communications and they were unable to determine if they should be protected. 

Interestingly, the lawyer affirmed by affidavit that he was was providing legal advice within the communications. Query whether providing details of the communications between a lawyer and their client would undermine the underlying claim to privilege. 

Ontario employer jailed, fined for failure to obey order to pay $140,000 in wages

Jurisdiction: - Ontario
Sector: - Education

This is the Ontario Ministry of Labour's June 6, 2017 Court Bulletin:

MISSISSAUGA, ON - An employer who operated a Brampton business known as Academic Montessori and a summer camp in Mississauga and failed to pay his workers - many of them university students - has been convicted after a trial.

The conviction of Peter David Sinisa Sesek, imposed in Mississauga court, was for failure to comply with an order to pay issued by a Ministry of Labour employment standards officer. A sentence of 30 days in jail and a fine of $20,000 was imposed by Justice of the Peace Hilda Weiss on June 6, 2017.

The order to pay, issued March 31, 2015, amounts to about $140,000 and is owed to 43 claimants.

The businesses, which are no longer in operation, were known as Academic Montessori and WISE (Wonderful Interactive Summer Experience) Summer Camp.  read more »

Discriminatory to deny parental benefits to birth mothers because they received pregnancy benefits

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia
Sector: - Education

In a rare oral judgment that was issued on November 12, 2014 - British Columbia Teachers' Federation v. British Columbia Public School Employers' Association, 2014 SCC 70 - the Supreme Court of Canada overturned a decision by the BC Court of Appeal and restored the decision of a labour arbitrator concerning top-up benefits provided to teachers who are new parents.

The labour arbitrator, John B. Hall, had ruled that it was discriminatory - under section 15 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and section 13 of the BC Human Rights Code -  to provide the same amount of top-up benefits to birth mothers as birth fathers and adoptive parents.

Specifically, Arbitrator Hall had ruled:  read more »