Acting Without Instructions Costs Lawyer $20k

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A Toronto lawyer got an expensive lesson this week about the need for written instructions, after a judge ordered him to pay nearly $20,000 to his former client and the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC).

Canadian Lawyer Magazine reports that Joseph Zayouna’s former client had been injured when she was struck by a Toronto Transit Commission streetcar in 2009.

Zayouna agreed to a settlement offer from the TTC before his client approved the settlement. TTC filed a motion on the validity of that agreement and lost the motion. Still, the costs of that motion were endorsed this week in Superior Court.

“The motion involved issues of importance to the bar and to the administration of justice. They involved the duty of a plaintiff’s lawyer to secure instructions from his/her client before accepting an offer to settle and the extent to which a defendant’s lawyer is entitled to rely on ambiguous responses to its offer,” court found. “I am satisfied that the motion involved issues that were of importance to both the parties and the public.”

Zayouna is ordered to pay his former client $11,127, and TTC $7,781.

 

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