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TGP Successful in Motion to Strike

Natasha O’Toole was successful in a motion to strike all causes of action against five personally-named employees of Mohawk College, without leave to amend, in Barber v. Goerz, 2021 ONSC 3698.

The plaintiff was a student enrolled in the paralegal program at Mohawk College. Students in the paralegal program are given the opportunity to participate in community placements. Herman’s Supply Company offered one such placement. Mohawk College provided Herman’s with a copy of the plaintiff’s resume for consideration. The Herman’s liaison responded with two emails raising concerns about the plaintiff’s history.

The plaintiff claimed for $1.1 million against Herman’s, its liaison, Mohawk College, and five Mohawk employees, alleging defamation, negligence, and breaches of his rights under various statutes. The Mohawk defendants moved under Rule 21.01(1)(b), to strike the amended statement of claim as against the personally-named Mohawk employees on the basis that it disclosed no reasonable cause of action.

Justice Reid allowed the motion, and struck the amended statement of claim as against the personally-named Mohawk employees, without leave to amend. He accepted that the bulk of the allegations against those defendants were in pith and substance decisions made within their ostensible authority as Mohawk employees. Other allegations were either based on speculation or were bald assertions unsupported by material facts. There were no facts to support that any of the personally-named Mohawk defendants committed independent tortious acts, or that their actions exhibited a separate identity or interest from Mohawk. The allegations lumped the employees together as if they were a single party, so it was not possible for each of them to look at the pleading and understand what the plaintiff said he or she did that caused harm, and when the harm was caused. In the circumstances, Justice Reid found it to be plain and obvious that the amended statement of claim did not disclose a properly pleaded cause of action as against the personally-named Mohawk defendants.

With respect to leave to amend, Justice Reid noted that the plaintiff had already amended his pleading extensively after he was first faced with the Mohawk defendants’ motion to strike and the case law relied upon in support of the motion. The amended pleading remained deficient. It was reasonable to assume that if material facts existed that would support that the personally-named Mohawk defendants committed an independent tortious act or exhibited a separate identity or interest from Mohawk, then those facts would have been specifically pleaded. Justice Reid found no benefit in permitting a further attempt by the plaintiff to find some tenable basis for a claim against the personally-named Mohawk defendants. Leave to amend was denied.

For more information on our Education Claims practice, please contact Alex Pettingill or Christina Polano.

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TGP Welcomes Jananie Manoharan and Shelly Kubik

Thomas Gold Pettingill is growing with the addition of two new associates. Jananie will be practicing in the area of statutory accident benefits (SABS) litigation and general tort defence work. She articled with a multinational insurance company before joining the firm. Jananie is a 2021 call. To learn more about Jananie or to contact her, click here.

Shelly is joining the coverage group at TGP and will also be practicing insurance litigation. She articled at an insurance company and was called to the bar in 2021. Shelly is fluent in French. To learn more about Shelly or to contact her, click here.

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Industry News

Bill 118 and Limitation Periods in the COVID-Era

Ian Gold and Adam Bucci presented on the newly passed Bill 118, the amendments to the Occupiers’ Liability Act, and the state of limitation periods in the COVID-era. Bill 118 has meaningfully changed the Occupiers’ Liability Act by adding certain reporting / notice requirements that claimants must follow if they wish to ultimately commence a lawsuit against an occupier following a slip and fall on snow or ice.

Limitation periods have also been affected as a result of the global pandemic. From March 16th to September 14th, 2020, the limitation clock stopped running. As such, all limitation periods imposed by the Province for claims that encompass this window of time have been extended by 183 days, including those claims whose limitation period ordinarily would not have fallen within that 6-month window.

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Chris Schnarr to speak at Osgoode CPD Accident Benefits 2021 Program

On February 23, 2021 Chris Schnarr will be participating at the Osgoode CPD Accident Benefits 2021 Program. Chris will be a panel member discussing “Ethical and Professional Issues in Accident Benefits Cases”.

The panel will be moderated by Sharon Dagan of Van Arnhem & Associates and will examine realistic fact situations involving challenging professionalism issues in an Accident Benefits practice. The emphasis will be on considerations that should guide lawyers and paralegals in meeting their professional obligations, while advocating effectively for clients.

Chris will be drawing upon his 26 years of practicing in the field of accident benefits in order to provide practical advice for those participating in the program.

Click here for registration.

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Joyce Tam Speaking at Civil Sexual Assault CPD

Joyce Tam will be speaking at Osgoode’s “Civil Sexual Assault: Critical and Emerging Issues” CPD on February 25, 2021, which will be a live interactive webcast.

Joyce will be part of a panel discussing institutional liability. The panel will be covering: what’s new in negligence and vicarious liability; strategies for dealing with the special challenges with and for large institutions; and potential ethical issues with institutional liability claims.

Registration for this CPD can be found at “www.osgoodepd.ca/civilsexual“. The conference will also cover topical industry issues such as navigating credibility and memory issues, privacy torts, defamation and anti-SLAPP motions, and strategies for navigating overlapping proceedings.

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TGP continues to service clients during the pandemic

As the public health emergency caused by COVID-19 develops rapidly, TGP is reaffirming its commitment to providing a high level of service to all our clients and colleagues. TGP assures our clients that our operations will continue uninterrupted. Our office remains open although reception is closed. Feel free to reach out to our lawyers at any time by email and/or phone, and we will respond promptly. Stay healthy and be well.

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