Law Times

November 9, 2009

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A. NEUMAN ASSOCIATES INC. McKELLAR STRUCTURED SETTLEMENTS INC. 1-800-265-8381 $3.55 • Vol. 20, No. 35 ckellar_LT_Jan14_08.indd 1 1/8/08 3:03:02 PM Inside This Issue 2 Mandatory Education 6 Good Science? 8 Focus On Family Law Quote of the week "My concern is that in most of these cases, it appears that one parent has the fi nancial means to retain high-end counsel and experts like Dr. Warshak, but the other parent seems to have modest means and never retains an expert, meaning that they can't lead evidence against the fi ndings or meth- odology of Dr. Warshak." — Jan Weir, Toronto lawyer, See Judge, page 11 Covering Ontario's Legal Scene ntitled-3 1 Forensic Accounting & Damage Quantifi cation Specialists Turn Crisis into Opportunity (416) 223-5991 November 9, 2009 9/28/09 12:30:15 PM related grievances from women in the pro- fession — jumped signifi cantly this year in what may be a sign of workplace stress caused by the recession. In her latest biannual report to the Law Society of Upper Canada, discrimination and harassment counsel Cynthia Petersen tallied 34 complaints of discrimination or harassment against lawyers or paralegals from January until the end of June. Th at number is up substantially from the previ- ous six-month period. Th irty-three of the cases were against lawyers, while one was against a paralegal. Of those involving lawyers, 16 came from members of the public, 16 from members of the bar, and one from a paralegal. Sandy Welsh, a sociology professor at the University of Toronto, says that given the dates of the statistics, it's possible the rise is due to job stress related to the recession. Welsh, whose research focuses on ha- rassment and equity issues, adds that in a downturn, pregnancy-related discrimina- tion complaints also tend to increase. Petersen, however, tells Law Times that there's no study or survey on the cause of the increase but says one of the reasons may sim- ply be eff orts to promote the discrimination and harassment counsel program. "It may be a good thing. It may not mean Cynthia Petersen says the rise in complaints may be a result of greater promotion of the program. that there's any increase in misconduct by lawyers; it might just mean that people who do think that they've been victimized are aware of what their options are and are feeling empowered to take steps to address them," she says. People may also be more aware of their rights as a result of recent media discussion Discrimination cases spike D Cause unknown, but increase may be due to recession BY HELEN BURNETT-NICHOLS For Law Times iscrimination and harassment complaints against lawyers — in- cluding a number of employment- about human rights and a reformed com- plaints process in Ontario, she adds. Th e law society provides its discrimina- tion and harassment counsel service for free to the public, lawyers, and paralegals through a program that's been in place for more than 10 years. Th e report notes the majority of com- plaints brought forward by lawyers were from women, most of them dealing with employment. Th e complaints touched on issues such as sexual harassment and dis- crimination based on gender, pregnancy, disability, family status, and race. According to the report, four women lawyers complained about sexual harass- ment or sexual assault by male counter- parts, including one who said she was the victim of "lewd jokes, sexist remarks, sexual comments, and sexual advances" by a male co-worker. Th ree women lawyers reported discrimi- nation based on pregnancy. Th e cases in- cluded the mother of an infant who said her employer was failing to accommodate her child-care and breastfeeding needs. Another lawyer claimed discrimination based on her race and gender had harmed her career-advancement prospects. In addi- tion, fi ve women clients said they suff ered sexual harassment by male lawyers. Complaint numbers have fl uctuated in recent years, says Petersen, who notes there was a peak in 2004 with 78 cases. Th en they started declining, with as few as 35 in 2007. But last year, they began to go up again. See April, page 3 H1N1 could spread to legal profession W BY ROBERT TODD Law Times hile the province's health-care industry scrambles to imple- ment an unprecedented vacci- nation campaign in response to swine fl u, lawyers could soon be the ones occupied by fallout from the disease. Cavalluzzo Hayes Shilton McIntyre & Cornish LLP lawyer Shaun O'Brien says allegations of institutional misconduct — rather than the actions of indi- vidual doctors or nurses — are most likely to lead to litigation should the outbreak grow. "Where I see exposure in this kind of thing is more with peo- ple being upset about whether the vaccine's available, why it's not available when it should be, which groups are getting it or are not getting it, which clinics are getting it or not getting it, why it's taking so long, why the waits are so long." O'Brien says individual health-care workers do the best they can with limited informa- tion during crises, suggesting their behaviour is unlikely to prompt legal action. But the lack of knowledge about swine fl u makes it hard to predict what type of litigation could arise and when. "In terms of the actual care TitlePlus_LT_Jan12_09 12/23/08 11:07 AM Page 1 they receive, there could be issues related to this all being new. Ob- viously, there are concerns about how much is known about this fl u, whether we know how to properly treat it, whether all of the drugs and vaccines are safe, and so there could be issues aris- ing out of that down the road." Steinecke Maciura LeBlanc lawyer Bonni Ellis, whose prac- tice focuses on professional regulation matters, suggests the health-care community is better equipped to avoid legal battles stemming from a possible swine- fl u pandemic thanks to lessons from the 2003 SARS outbreak. But she suggests this outbreak could present a wide spectrum of new and unforeseen problems. "As the disease progresses and more people become ill with it — hopefully that's not the case, but I think it's probably inevita- ble — I think that's where there's Together we have all the tools To ensure your clients get the most comprehensive coverage in one title insurance policy, take a look at the TitlePLUS Program , your Bar-related real estate partner! ® ® PROTECTION AS GOOD AS IT GETS 1-800-410-1013 ® TitlePLUS, the TitlePLUS logo, OwnerEXPRESS and LAWPRO are registered trademarks of Lawyers' Professional Indemnity Company. ® BAR-RELATED Mark is a registered Mark of North American Bar Related Title Insurers used by LAWPRO under License. 1 Please refer to the policy for full details, including actual terms and conditions. The TitlePLUS policy is underwritten by Lawyers' Professional Indemnity Company (LAWPRO®). Contact LAWPRO for brokers in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Alberta and Québec. TitlePLUS policies issued with respect to properties in Québec and OwnerEXPRESS® policies do not include legal services coverage. 1 vital doctors, the potential to see more con- cerns about how individual prac- titioners have dealt with various issues that they are facing — more patient-specifi c [ones] po- tentially or work-related issues." As a result, Ellis suggests it's for nurses, and other health-care workers to tread lightly to avoid the wrath of litigious patients. "Any health-care practitioner is always in the spotlight, so to speak, in the sense that members of the public are more aware of the fact that they can make com- plaints against health-care prac- titioners if they have concerns with their conduct," she says. While the actions of health- care workers will come under See Flu, page 3 Click here to subscribe today to LAW TIMES

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