Law Times

September 14, 2015

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Page 16 September 14, 2015 • Law timeS TAMAN CHALLENGES FIRING BY FEDS A week after winning the NDP nomi- nation for Ottawa-Vanier, former fed- eral prosecutor Emilie Taman was in Federal Court this month asking for a judicial review of the Public Service Commission of Canada's decision this summer to fire her. According to an article in the Ottawa Citizen, Taman's lawyer asked the court to strike down the commission's deci- sion on the grounds that it "failed to bal- ance her obligations to be a loyal and impartial public servant with her constitutional right to seek public office." In early July, Taman vacated her office, beginning what she called "an unauthorized leave of absence" to enter the contest for Ottawa- Vanier's NDP nomination. She had applied for a leave of absence last year, but the commis- sion refused, arguing her ability to return to work after the political race would be "impaired or perceived to be impaired." After receiv- ing a series of warning letters, the government fired Taman weeks af- ter she left her office. "I received I think it was three warning letters, which basically indicated that I was to return to work immediately or face termination for abandonment of position," she says. "I followed up by saying I don't have an intention to abandon my position, and could you please just wait until my judicial review hearing?" But the commission, she says, replied that "despite my representa- tions, it had been determined that I had abandoned my position." The commission is declining to comment on the case given that it's currently before the court. The nomination battle appears to have been a tightly contested one. Although the party doesn't release the number of votes each person received, the vote, which involved four candidates, went down to the wire with three ballots. "It was a long night," says Taman. FOX NEWS ANCHOR SUES OVER HAMSTER TOY NEWARK, N.J. — A broadcaster seems an odd inspiration for a toy, but a Fox News anchor is al- leging a company did just that in a new lawsuit. According to Reuters, the anchor has sued Hasbro Inc. for more than $5 million over the company's sale of a plastic toy hamster that shares her name and that she alleges resembles her. In a complaint filed recently, Harris Faulkner, who joined Fox News in 2005, called it "de- meaning and insulting" for Hasbro to portray her as a rodent with its Harris Faulkner ham- ster and said the toy damages her credibility as a journalist. Faulkner also said the hamster bears a "phys- ical resemblance" to her through its complexion, eye shape, and eye makeup design and poses a choking hazard to small children. "Harris Faulkner, the uniquely named, ac- claimed veteran journalist and author, has worked for decades to establish and maintain her personal brand and laudable professional reputation" only to suffer "substantial com- mercial and emotional damages" from Hasbro's conduct, the complaint said. Faulkner said she had told Hasbro in January it had no permission to use her name or like- ness but that it was still using her name in July to sell its popular Littlest Pet Shop toy line that includes the hamsters. She also said the hamsters are still available on and elsewhere online. Hasbro spokeswoman Julie Duffy on Wednesday said the company normally doesn't discuss litigation. She objected to the choking hazard claim, saying that all Littlest Pet Shop toys "meet and exceed all safety standards." The lawsuit filed in Newark, N.J., federal court seeks damages for violating Faulkner's publicity and endorsement rights. It also seeks to recoup profits from toy hamster sales. HOSPITAL USES OBSCURE LAW TO SEEK SEIZED WINE PHILADELPHIA — You've got to give this hos- pital credit for its novel use of the law. According to Reuters, the fate of 1,404 bottles of rare wine seized from a private collector un- der Pennsylvania's strict liquor laws hangs on a judge's ruling on a loophole that may allow hos- pitals "use" of forfeited liquor. The wine was confiscated in 2014 under a Pennsylvania law that limits nearly all alcoholic beverage sales to its chain of state liquor stores, none of which sells rare vintages. It was among a cache of 2,447 bottles with an estimated value of at least $125,000 that Penn- sylvania State Police seized from Arthur Gold- man, a lawyer in Malvern, Penn. Chester County Hospital in the Philadelphia suburb of West Chester filed a court petition seeking custody of the wine that it hopes to resell for charity under an obscure provision of state law that allows forfeited liquor "to be delivered to a hospital for its use." Goldman, who admitted to selling the wine to private enthusiasts, received a form of proba- tion aimed at eventually clearing his record. In the meantime, state police moved ahead with plans to destroy the confiscated wine. That possibility horrified wine enthusiasts and even the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, which urged a solution that would preserve the wine that it said included "rare and hard-to- obtain vintages." Last month, Goldman reached a settlement with state police allowing him to reclaim 1,043 bottles of the forfeited wine. The hospital is seeking the remaining 1,404 bottles. Never before has forfeited liquor been turned over to a third party, said Trooper Adam Reed, a state police spokesman. Chester County Judge Edward Griffin is to decide whether state law in- tended for hospital wine donations to be only for medicinal purposes or whether the hospital can legally resell the bottles for charity. LT The title insurer that puts you front row, centre Putting the legal community front and centre has made us the #1 choice with Canadian lawyers for over a decade. Stewart Title does not support programs that reduce or eliminate the lawyer's role in real estate transactions. For more information call (888) 667-5151 or visit Untitled-2 1 7/19/11 12:31:45 PM u Bizarre Briefs By Viola James u The InsIde story LAWYER'S DISBARMENT UPHELD The Law Society Tribunal has dismissed a lawyer's appeal of her disbarment in a mortgage fraud case. On Aug. 31, the appeal divi- sion considered Thelma Push- paranee Williams' appeal of the hearing panel's misconduct findings against her last year. In particular, she challenged the finding of knowing participa- tion in fraud in relation to one property and argued the appro- priate penalty was a one-year suspension followed by two years of supervised practice. But in its ruling last month, the appeal division found there was "ample evidence" for the hearing panel to make a finding that Williams had knowingly participated in fraud through recklessness. It also upheld the pen- alty of disbarment. "The presumptive penalty for know- ing participation in mortgage fraud is revocation, and the hearing panel's determination that there were no exceptional circumstances in this case that would justify a departure from revocation is a reasonable con- clusion based on the evidence before it," wrote Christopher Bredt for the appeal panel. POLL RESULTS The results of the latest Law Times online poll are in. According to the poll, 56 per cent of respondents think large legal organizations such as the Canadian Bar Association and the Ontario Bar Associa- tion remain relevant to them. The poll follows the CBA's emphasis at its recent conference in Calgary on its Rethink efforts aimed at making the organiza- tion more relevant to lawyers. And in assuming the presi- dency of the OBA recently, Ed Upenieks told Law Times that ensuring the relevance of his organization is a key priority for him as well. While the majority of respon- dents said the organizations remain relevant to them, 44 per cent said they see more value in niche associations. LT "Honey, I may not be home for dinner tonight. I'm being arrested for violating s. 1a of the Failure to Comprehend the Effects of Bill C-51 on the Canadian Security Intelligence Services Act, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, the Secure Air Travel Act, the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act, and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act Act." Emilie Taman

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