Law Times

July 11, 2011

The premier weekly newspaper for the legal profession in Ontario

Issue link: http://digital.lawtimesnews.com/i/50221

Contents of this Issue

Navigation

Page 0 of 19

416-487-4447 • admin@adrontario.ca www.adrontario.ca/findapro.cfm ADR Connect: Find an ADR Professional Arbitrators $4.00 • Vol. 22, No. 23 ntitled-2 1 7/7/11 9:10:05 AM Inside This Issue 5 Legal Innovator Covering Ontario's Legal Scene ntitled-1 1 Lawbuzz saga ends Four lawyers call no-costs dismissal a vindication BY MICHAEL McKIERNAN Law Times 6 T Catastrophic Injury 9 Focus On Legal Specialists & Boutiques Quote of the week "If you're willing to keep your overhead under control, you can start up on a relative shoestring and wait for the business to build a little bit more than you perhaps could have a generation ago." — Mark Hayes, Hayes eLaw LLP See E-focused, page 13 he Lawbuzz defamation saga has ended with a no-costs dismissal that the defendants say vindicates their claims that the lawsuit had no merit. Legal advice web site advicescene.com of- fered to settle just days ahead of a hearing on motions for security for costs brought by three of the four defendants, all of whom are lawyers, in the case. Th e lawsuit was dismissed on consent on June 14. Defendant Russell Howe, who brought one of the motions, says he was tempted to reject the off er and pursue the matter all the way to trial. "I don't think there was any merit to the claim against me and I think we would have been quite successful in the mo- tion for security for costs," says the Aurora, Ont., lawyer. Howe says he and his three co-defen- dants, Quebecor Media Inc. in-house counsel Tycho Manson, Brockville, Ont., lawyer Kevin Preston, and Jenny Ruther- ford of Vancouver, agreed by teleconfer- ence to accept the off er and later met up at a Toronto bar to celebrate. It was the fi rst time all four had met in person. "We all decided that we've had enough While its founder, Nancy Kinney, insists she had a strong case, she says she decided to make the off er to settle because she sim- ply "got tired of the whole thing." "It's not a very effi cient system. We're two years after the comments were made and nothing's been accomplished. It takes a lot of money and time. I'm tired and just wanted it to be done." Rutherford says the whole matter was a waste of time and energy but was grateful for the chance to focus her eff orts on her prac- tice rather than a possible trip to Toronto to testify in court. "From the outset, I was con- fi dent this would be the eventual outcome," she says. "I believe very strongly that lawyers should not be afraid to speak publicly about legal matters of concern to the profession and to the Canadian public generally." Manson is also pleased with the result. Russell Howe says the experience of being sued was a surprisingly positive one. of this thing, and I'm pleased that it has gone away," Howe says. Th e dismissal followed an earlier settlement reached in January 2010 between AdviceScene and legal forum lawbuzz.ca over allegedly de- famatory statements by the four defendants using pseudonyms in March 2009. In that earlier no-costs settlement, Lawbuzz agreed to turn over the e-mail and IP addresses of the four lawyers. AdviceScene had claimed $500,000 in damages for seven statements it alleged cast doubt on its legitimacy. "I've said all along that the action against me had no merit, and this outcome con- fi rms that position," he says. "Th e state- ment for which I was sued was fair com- ment on a matter of public interest to the legal community, and I'm confi dent that a court would have reached the same conclu- sion if the matter had ever gone to trial. "It's not pleasant to be sued, but I was always confi dent, from the beginning, that the outcome would be favourable, as it even- tually was," he adds. Howe says he was less bothered by the lawsuit and notes he found the experience a surprisingly positive one. "I do civil litigation See Statements, page 4 sional lives against U.S.-based in- surers allegedly determined to oust them from the residential market were a mainstay of legal news headlines in the mid-1990s. Harvey Strosberg, then trea- Title insurance wars heating up once again T BY JULIUS MELNITZER For Law Times he title insurance wars that pitted real estate lawyers fi ghting for their profes- changed. But as far as many real estate practitioners are con- cerned, the battle is still about professional survival in the face of the title insurance industry's potential to reduce or eliminate lawyers' roles in conveyancing transactions. "Th e title insurance wars have surer of the Law Society of Up- per Canada, went as far as coin- ing them the "unholy wars." To Bob Aaron, then president of the Ontario Real Estate Lawyers As- sociation, traditional title insurers were a "demonic force of evil." Nowadays, the title insurance wars have slipped below the ra- dar. But they're still around. To be sure, their format has been replaced by guerilla warfare in what have become the conveyanc- ing wars," says Kathleen Waters, president and CEO of LawPRO, the insurance arm of the LSUC that owns and operates TitlePLUS. TitlePLUS has always been in the underdog's corner, at least from the lawyers' perspectives, and heralded by many as the real estate bar's saviour. In some senses, it's still the underdog with only three per cent of the title insurance mar- ket in Canada. TitlePLUS was a direct re- sult of the title insurance wars formed specifi cally to preserve the role of the lawyer in the con- veyancing market and counter the intrusion of First Canadian Title Insurance Co. Ltd., Chica- go Title Insurance Co. Canada, and Stewart Title Guaranty Co., the traditional title insurers that dominate the Canadian market. Bar-related title insurance in- volves three primary twists: lawyers control the insurer; only lawyers can off er TitlePLUS to consumers; and the TitlePLUS policy provides no-fault errors-and-omissions in- surance for non-title mistakes made by lawyers providing advice on real estate transactions. "Th e bar in Ontario has no problem with title insurance, nor does the law society, which Mediators July 11, 2011 7/5/11 9:40:55 AM is obvious because we're a title insurer ourselves," Waters says. "But you have to wonder about the aggressiveness that our com- petitors focus on us because we're the smallest and taking our business won't give anyone a big boost in market share." Th e "aggressiveness" that Wa- ters refers to lies largely in the po- sition taken by the Title Insurance Industry Association of Canada, a group of federally regulated in- surers, that TitlePLUS has a privi- leged position in the market. Th e association, however, de- fends its position and noted in a written response to questions from Law Times that it "advo- cates for fair competition which ultimately benefi ts consumers of title insurance products. Th ere See Quebec, page 4 LT Digital version.indd 1 6/25/10 12:59:47 PM Click here to subscribe today to LAW TIMES Childview_LT_Jan24_11.indd 1 www.lawtimesnews.com 1/19/11 11:04:05 AM

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Law Times - July 11, 2011
loading...
Law Times

To access your digital edition please enter your email address as both your username and password. Not a subscriber? Please call 1-800-387-5164 and subscribe today. Login failed? Please contact aaron.green@tr.com.

 or  free preview Remember me