Your Only Source of Paralegal News ~ March 4

Decisive & Persuasive
Paralegal Karen Fair

Paralegal Karen Fair summarizes Doerr v Paralegal, in which a plaintiff sued the paralegal she hired to sue another paralegal.

In his Doerr v. Sterling Paralegal, 2014 ONSC 2335 (CanLII) decision, Deputy Judge Glenn C. Walker found that a paralegal did not breach his duty of care and did not use duress in having his client sign Minutes of Settlement.

“If every litigant who had second thoughts about a settlement made at the courtroom door was allowed to reopen his or her case … these types of settlement would never take place as counsel would always have to worry about a subsequent law suit.”

~ Deputy Judge Walker

The plaintiff, Ms. Doerr, had retained the defendant, Mr. Schoenleber, who carries on business under the paralegal firm name, Sterling Paralegal, to represent her in a claim against Ann Marie Frauts Professional Corporation (the “Frauts Action”). Before the Frauts Action trial began, the defendant presented the plaintiff with handwritten Minutes of Settlement, settling the matter for $2,500. The plaintiff initialled the first and second pages of the Minutes and signed the third page. Once the Minutes of Settlement were signed, the trial judge endorsed the record. To receive the settlement funds, she was required to sign a full and final release. She did not sign the release and the settlement cheque was returned to opposing counsel.

The Evidence

In her evidence, the plaintiff stated that she had made it clear to the defendant that she would not settle for anything less than $10,000. She alleged that she signed the Minutes of Settlement under duress because she believed that she did not have another option. However, the plaintiff admitted that she did not find the defendant physically threatening nor did she contact the police, seek independent legal advice regarding the signed Minutes or bring a motion to set aside the April 21 endorsement. Further, the plaintiff thanked the defendant for representing her in the Frauts Action several times.

News That Matters to You

Carefully chosen for relevance to the paralegal profession, these articles are selected from reliable sources. Click on the tags, or type in the Search box at the top-right, to access more SCOPE articles and links to resources on topics that are important to you.

New at CanLII & CanLII Connects

CanLII Connects makes it faster and easier for legal professionals and the public to access high-quality legal commentary on Canadian court decisions. See Scope’s Publisher Page. Here are some recent cases of direct interest and use to paralegals in Ontario:

  • “No longer any security of employment under the Canada Labour Code” – Wilson v. Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, 2015 FCA 17 (CanLII)
  • Federal Court overturns government Citizenship niqab ban – Ishaq v Canada 2015 FC 156
  • ONCA finds it’s OK to review expert report drafts
  • R. v. Oakes, [1986] 1 SCR 103, 1986 CanLII 46 (SCC) – This Charter-challenge classic is among the most-viewed cases at CanLII
  • Is privacy legislation exhaustive, precluding a civil claim for intrusion upon seclusion? Ontario Court of Appeal says no – Hopkins v. Kay, 2015 ONCA 112
  • Video evidence – introduction, disclosure, Browne v. Dunn considered – Iannarella v. Corbett, 2015 ONCA 110
  • Correctness Standard applied to Condominium Act arbitration
  • Should a suspended licensee be permitted to represent a family member in court? Ontario Court of Justice said no
  • Lloyd v. Napanee (Town), 2015 ONSC 761 – A winter maintenance risk case turns on shifted onus and failed evidentiary burden
  • Message does not become privileged merely by sending a copy of it to a licensee
  • Employer’s ‘Systemic Wrongdoing’ = Greater Punitive Damage Award”
  • Landlord entitled to reduced rent; tenants entitled to heat and maintenance: Adjudicator NOL-17922-14 (Re), 2015 CanLII 2796 (ON LTB)
  • Salasel v. Cuthbertson, 2015 ONCA 115 (CanLII) – Absolute privilege applies outside defamation actions; substitute decision-maker had filed claim against physicians
  • Royal succession could be heading to SCC: ONCA disallows challenge to no-Catholic monarch laws
  • All the way to Woodstock – N.W.T. self-rep wins in generator case; Deputy Judge clarifies that orders are not ex juris mandatory injunctions, but rather, necessary for justice
Convocation operates as a board of governors for the legal profession. Convocation sets policy and determines other matters related to the governance of Ontario’s lawyers and paralegals. Here are highlights from recent monthly Convocation meetings, with information particularly relevant for paralegals.

All Talk, for Now: Alternative Business Structures Update
Professional Regulation -- How Common are Complaints?
Discipline: Licences Revoked, Suspended, Surrendered
Paralegal Education & Licensing Exam: Update
Book Review: Know Your Torts
Reena Basser, Paralegal

Paralegal and instructor Reena Basser reviews “Tort Law: Cases and Materials” – Ernest Weinrib, Emond Montgomery Publications, 2003. It examines the philosophy and history behind legal torts that affect paralegals in civil law matters.

Am I actually reviewing a textbook about tort law? Yes! We paralegals deal with torts in practice through negligence and emotional distress. This book explores theory and expression. This is refreshing and will give you perspective the next time you approach a case in torts.

Weinrib is a professor at the University of Toronto Law School and writes extensively on the subject of tort law. This textbook is divided into the major categories of tort, and includes the leading cases on the subjects: Nuisance, Remedies, Negligence, Duty and Remoteness, Cause in Fact, Defences, Intentional Torts and informed consent, Nonfeasance, and Strict Liability.

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