Law Times

September 21, 2015

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Page 20 September 21, 2015 • Law timeS PENALTY DECISION RESERVED IN REFUGEE CASE The Law Society Tribunal has re- served its decision on the penalty for a Mississauga, Ont., lawyer found to have engaged in professional miscon- duct for failing to serve her refugee clients. Earlier this month, the hearing division made the misconduct find- ings against Jaszi Erzsebet, a lawyer retained in 2011 to assist G.I., a Roma refugee claimant, and her children. After meeting with the lawyer to sign the required personal information forms for the claim, Erzsebet failed to submit them to the Immigration and Refugee Board on time, according to the decision. While Erzsebet submitted them following an abandonment hearing in May 2011, G.I. received notice that they were incomplete, the ruling written by panel chairwoman Barbara Mur- chie noted. In considering Erzsebet's actions, the panel found she didn't prepare the family's forms and "prosecute their applications to the stan- dards of a competent lawyer." There was no reference, for example, to al- leged domestic abuse suffered by G.I., Murchie noted. For her part, Erzsebet disagreed that the forms were incomplete and noted it was possible to amend them later with G.I. able to expand on her story when testifying before the board. The panel, however, found she had engaged in professional misconduct that included overbilling Legal Aid Ontario for time spent on preparing the forms. The findings follow a July 29 decision from the tribunal that dealt with the Law Society of Upper Canada's allegations of professional misconduct in relation to her representation of eight Roma refugee families during the 2009-11 period. The panel found she had engaged in professional misconduct in that case as well. After a hearing last week, the panel reserved its decision on the penalty. CHURCH USES ABORTION LAW AGAINST TOPLESS PROTESTS WARSAW, Ohio — You've got to give this church points for its proactive use of the law. According to Reuters, the church has filed a federal lawsuit against the strip club citing a statute used by abortion clinics against dem- onstrators in the latest in a decade of protests, counter-protests, suits, and countersuits be- tween the two parties. The suit seeks to bar the Foxhole North strip joint's owner, Thomas George, and his employ- ees from coming to church topless on Sundays to protest church members' demonstrations on Friday nights at the club. George, a defendant in the lawsuit filed by William Dunfee, pastor at New Beginnings Ministries, called the legal filing frivolous. "Isn't that ironic that he likes to protest abortion clinics and he uses that law to fight me?" George told Reuters. The lawsuit, filed by Dunfee last week, in- vokes the Freedom of Access to Clinic En- trances Act, a statute signed by then-president Bill Clinton in 1994 that protects both repro- ductive health clinics and churches from pro- tests that would intimidate or block access. Dunfee accuses George and his employees of intimidating and threatening congregants on Sundays at the church in Warsaw. George says he and some of his employees have shown up topless to the church to protest the church's Friday-night protests at his business. "What is good for the goose is good for the gander," said George. "They are no different from anyone else because of their line of work." Local authorities tried to bring an end to the duelling protests and lawsuits last year. Robert Skelton, law director for the City of Coshocton, wrote to both parties saying all of the actions were draining county resources. "Police are called to the protests constant- ly and could be doing something a lot more important," said Skelton. George said he quit protesting for a while. Now, in response to the lawsuit, he plans to at- tend church with his employees. "I don't want to be there, the girls don't want to be there after working Saturday night, but we will be there," said George. CHAMPAGNE CELEBRATION LANDS RECORD BREAKER IN TROUBLE AUGUSTA, Maine — It was an unfortunate end to a major achievement. A Colorado trail runner who in July set a record for the fastest completion of the Appalachian Trail has agreed to pay a $500 fine to Maine after breaking state rules by celebrating his feat with champagne, his attorney said. According to Reuters, officials at Baxter State Park, home to the last part of the trail that ends atop Mount Katahdin, fined Scott Jurek for violating park rules against drinking in public, littering, and hiking with an oversized group. With the latter two charges dropped in a plea agreement, Jurek pleaded guilty to public con- sumption of alcohol, according to his lawyer. Jurek, who completed the Georgia-to- Maine trek in 46 days, eight hours, and seven minutes on July 12, beat the previous record by more than three hours. The high-profile trek sparked concern among park officials and some wilderness advocates about the commercialization and crowding of the Appalachian Trail. "These corporate events have no place in the park and are incongruous with the park's mis- sion of resource protection, the appreciation of nature, and the respect of the experience of others in the park," officials at Baxter State Park wrote in a Facebook post after Jurek completed his trek. Walt McKee, Jurek's lawyer, said officials had wrongly sought to make an example of his client. "The irony here is the publicity sur- rounding this case will probably just attract more people to the park." 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 NEW PARTNER AT GOWLINGS Usman Sheikh has joined Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP as a partner in its commer- cial litigation and class actions groups. Previously a lawyer at Bennett Jones LLP, Sheikh focuses on securities litigation, professional liability claims, class proceedings, and corporate commercial litiga- tion. He advises in areas including securities enforcement, cross-bor- der litigation, white-collar defence, shareholder activism, mergers and acquisitions disputes, and oppres- sion remedy claims. Prior to his time at Bennett Jones, he worked as a prosecutor in the enforcement branch of the Ontario Securi- ties Commission. "Usman is a rising litigation star with exceptional advocacy skills and an impressive back- ground in securities law," said Scott Jolliffe, Gowlings' chair- man and chief executive officer. POLL RESULTS The results of the latest Law Times online poll are in. Amid the growing controversy over Canada's handling of the Syrian refugee issue, a majority of respondents think the federal government isn't doing enough to assist people seeking to escape the troubled country. According to the poll, 62 per cent of respon- dents think Canada needs to sig- nificantly increase the number of government-sponsored refugees and remove barriers to private sponsorships. A further 38 per cent of participants think Canada is already doing a lot to help refu- gees from the Middle East, fight the Islamic State, and provide hu- manitarian assistance. The poll comes as the Syrian refugee issue has risen to promi- nence in the federal election campaign. The Conservatives have touted their plan to bring in thousands of people from both Syria and Iraq in the next couple of years and, more recently, an- nounced the government would match donations from Canadians for humanitarian assistance. Crit- ics and opposition parties, how- ever, have emphasized the need to speed up the process, remove ad- ministrative barriers, and accept more refugees. LT Law Society of Upper Canada "Now that's mobile technology."

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