Law Times

September 15, 2014

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Sparks fly as Cassels Brock rejects GM conflict claim By yaMri taddese Law Times assels Brock & Blackwell LLP was "hopelessly conf licted" when it represented the Cana- dian government in its bailout talks with General Motors of Canada Ltd. in 2009 while simultaneously act- ing for the Canadian Automobile Deal- ers Association, counsel for dealers who launched a class action over the matter told a Superior Court judge last week. Before some 180 dealers signed GM's wind-down agreement in 2009, Cassels Brock "did nothing" to help them get a better deal from the company, said Bryan Finlay, one of the counsel for the dealers, as the trial got underway on Tuesday. The class action seeking $750 million in damages names GM and Cassels Brock as defendants. None of the allegations have been proven in court. The interests of the dealers were adverse to those of Canada, said Finlay, adding that instead of advising the dealers of their rights, Cassels Brock told some of them the wind-down agre ements weren't negotiable. "The dealers were small potatoes when put up against Industry Canada, which was advancing millions of dol- lars," he told Justice Thomas McEwen. For its part, Cassels Brock argues the association, and not the individual dealers, had retained the firm. When the wind-down notice went to a group of GM dealers, the association advised them to seek legal advice from their in- dividual lawyers. "Each of the dealers who signed a [wind-down agreement] did so after ob- taining independent legal advice. Cassels did not provide independent legal advice to any of the non-retained dealers," the firm said in its statement of defence filed in the case. Finlay dismissed Cassels Brock's defence that THE MOST COMPLETE DIRECTORY OF ONTARIO LAWYERS, LAW FIRMS, JUDGES AND COURTS More detail and a wider scope of legal contact information for Ontario than any other source: ȕ0WFS27,000 lawyers listed ȕ0WFS9,000 law firms and corporate offices listed ȕ'BYBOEUFMFQIPOFOVNCFSTFNBJMBEESFTTFTPGȮDFMPDBUJPOTBOEQPTUBMDPEFT Visit carswell.com or call 1.800.387.5164 for a 30-day no-risk evaluation 1FSGFDUCPVOEȕ1VCMJTIFE%FDFNCFSFBDIZFBSPOTVCTDSJQUJPOȕ0OFUJNFQVSDIBTF- .VMUJQMFDPQZEJTDPVOUTBWBJMBCMF1SJDFTTVCKFDUUPDIBOHFXJUIPVUOPUJDFUPBQQMJDBCMFUBYFTBOETIJQQJOHIBOEMJOH O N TA R I O L AW Y E R' S P H O N E B O O K Untitled-3 1 14-05-20 3:25 PM Unfilled vacancies threatening court progress Slow pace of judicial appointments among concerns of chief justices By KaBeer setHi For Law Times espite progress on reducing wait times for civil motions, a lag in filling judicial va- cancies at the Ontario Superior Court is a growing concern for the justice system, Chief Justice Heather Smith said last week. Smith began her address at the opening of the courts ceremony in Toronto on Tuesday by sounding the alarm over the slow pace of judicial appointments to fill the growing number of vacancies. According to Smith, there will be 30 judicial vacancies by the end of the year, with family law judges accounting for nine of them, if current trends continue. The vacancies, combined with a "critical lack of criminal jury courtrooms," were ham- pering the judicial process, she said. "I would urge the minister of justice to act with dis- patch to fill our court's outstanding vacancies. I also trust and expect the new appointees will have the skills and expertise necessary to step confidently and seam- lessly into their roles." Smith also raised concerns about the court's abil- ity to handle the pressures caused by rapid population growth in several suburban communities in the Great- er Toronto Area. "They lack the facilities required to discharge our court's core functions," she said. While the government has made some progress with plans for a temporary solution to address facility short- ages in Barrie and Newmarket, Ont., Smith said it had "abandoned" that option for Brampton, Ont., and is in- stead considering a permanent facility that would take LSUC REFORM New tribunal includes more non-benchers P3 MENTAL HEALTH Lawyer calls on profession to be more supportive P7 FOCUS ON Competition Law P8 See Dealers, page 2 See Strathy, page 2 The trial in the class action by former GM dealers against the auto giant began last week. Photo: Robin Kuniski PM #40762529 LSUC REFORM New tribunal includes more non-benchers ! ! www.ghostpractice.ca Accounting and Practice Management ntitled-7 1 14-08-26 4:01 PM $4.00 • Vol. 25, No. 29 September 15, 2014 ! Civil Litigation A U T O M A T E D Litigation Docs Made Easy NEW "TICKLER" INCLUDED www.korbitecinc.com ntitled-7 1 14-08-26 3:59 PM L AW TIMEs L AW TIMEs D C Progress on reducing wait times in civil matters will be at risk if delays in naming new Superior Court judges continue, says Chief Justice Heather Smith. Photo: Kabeer Sethi

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