Law Times

April 8, 2019

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LAW TIMES 16 COVERING ONTARIO'S LEGAL SCENE | APRIL 8, 2019 SOP MOTION PLANNED A group of licensees say they plan to ask the Law Society of Ontario to alter its Statement of Principles requirement to protect licensees that fail to comply from audits or suspension. The motion, which would be introduced at the LSO's annual general meeting on May 8, rec- ommends that the LSO adopt certain guidelines around the Statement of Principles, includ- ing: that the Statement of Prin- ciples "is intended to promote ref lection, and not impose any belief "; that the Statement of Principles requirement refers to "existing legal and professional obligations"; and that the law society cannot audit or suspend a lawyer for failing to have a Statement of Principles. The law society said it would ask licensees in 2017 annual reports to create a statement that "acknowledges your obligation to promote equality, diversity and inclusion generally, and in your behaviour to- wards colleagues, employees, clients and the public." Toronto lawyer Omar Ha-Redeye signed and drafted the mo- tion, which says that there is a "significant dispute" around the im- plementation of the requirement "to the extent that these misunder- standings directly affected the 2019 bencher election." He said he met someone opposed to the statement of principles at a bencher election event and had a healthy conversation about the issues. "That conversation for me affirmed much of what I already sus- pected — that the Statement of Principles controversy is not so much about what the law society is doing or trying to do, it is more about what this might mean and about what they might do down the road," he says. LEAF NAMES NEW DIRECTOR Megan Stephens will replace Justice Shaun O'Brien as executive director and general counsel at the Women's Legal Education and Action Fund, LEAF announced on April 1 on Twitter. Stephens, who begins the role on June 1, was previously seconded as Commission Counsel to The Public Inquiry into the Safety and Security of Resi- dents in the Long-term Care Home System, the announcement said. WALTERS DEAN OF QUEEN'S LAW Queen's University appointed Mark Walters to a five-year term as dean of the faculty of law, the school said in an email. Walters, cur- rently at McGill University, becomes dean on July 1, the school said. LAW TIMES POLL All 22 incumbent lawyer benchers that ran for re-election in the last bencher election kept their seats in Convocation, of 40 available spots in 2015, accord- ing to statistics from the Law Society of Ontario analyzed by Law Times. This week's Law Times poll asked readers if non-incumbents have better chances of being elect- ed in this year's bencher election, which begins later this month and ends April 30. Readers were split, with 55 per cent of respondents saying yes, non-incumbents have a better chance of being voted as benchers in this election. About 45 per cent of respondents said it is an uphill battle for non-incumbent candidates, and the non-incumbents do not have a better chance of being voted as bencher. LT The Inside Story BY VIOL A JAMES THE POTATO DEBATE NEW YORK — It is acceptable to sell French fries that are not made in France, but a new lawsuit says it is not acceptable to sell potato skin snack chips that are not made from potato skins, re- ports Reuters. A New York City woman sued TGI Fridays in a proposed class action claiming that the company, known for its restau- rants, misleads consumers by selling "Potato Skins" snacks that contain potato f lakes and potato starch but no skins. The lawsuit by Solange Troncoso said the Idaho Potato Com- mission and others inside and outside the industry have associ- ated potato skins with healthy eating since they started appear- ing on restaurant menus a half-century ago. It said TGI Fridays' misleading packaging for its bacon ranch, cheddar and bacon and sour cream and onion potato skins snacks defrauded Troncoso and other consumers into purchasing an "inferior product" either by mistake or at a "full" price. "The presence of potato skins imparts a further value in the eyes of reasonable consumers," according to the complaint filed in Manhattan federal court, which seeks unspecified damages. Troncoso said she sued after paying $1.99 last June for a bag of TGI Fridays Sour Cream & Onion Potato Skins at a conve- nience store in the borough of the Bronx, where she lives. TGI Fridays did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The private equity firm Sentinel Capital Partners became majority owner of the Carrollton, Texas-based company in 2014. In a Feb. 2017 Eater article cited in the complaint, Richard Melman, chairman of Chicago-based restaurant company Let- tuce Entertain You, said he began serving potato skins in 1971 after his brother read how sailors ate them to stave off illness. A spokes- woman for Melman de- clined to comment. The case is Troncoso v. TGI Friday's Inc., U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 19-02735. LT APRIL FOOL'S RESIGNATION TEXAS — An April Fools' Day resignation prank? One Texas civil court judge wishes it were so, reports Reuters. A newly elected judge in Houston accidentally resigned on Mon- day, according to local media and a county official, after he shared plans online to run for the state supreme court, appar- ently unaware that the Texas constitution considers such an announcement an automatic resignation. The Harris County Civil Court judge, Bill McLeod, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on April 2. Local TV station KHOU 11 News on April 1 reported that McLeod declined to comment on the move. Article 16, s. 65 of the state's constitution says that a judge's announcement of candidacy for another office "shall constitute an automatic resignation of the office then held." The county attorney's office will present the matter to county commissioners on April 9, First Assistant County Attorney Rob- ert Soard said in a phone inter- view on April 2. County com- missioners, who can appoint re- placements, may decide to keep McLeod in office until there is a special election, KHOU 11 re- ported. The judge's supporters have organized on social media us- ing the hashtag #IStandWith- McLeod. They plan to attend the commissioners' Tuesday meet- ing and express their wish that the judge retain his office despite his blunder. McLeod, a Demo- crat, was sworn in last Novem- ber after winning the County's Civil Court No. 4 race with 55 per cent of the vote. DIVORCE FIGHT OVER SUPERYACHT DUBAI — A US$436-million superyacht belonging to a Rus- sian billionaire at the centre of one of the world's costliest di- vorce battles has been released by a Dubai court after being impounded last year, but legal wrangling over the fate of the vessel continued, reports Re- uters. Oil and gas tycoon Farkhad Akhmedov was ordered to pay about 40 per cent of his for- tune to his former wife, Tatiana Akhmedova, by London's High Court in 2016 in one of the larg- est divorce settlements in legal history. But Akhmedov failed to pay the US$594-million di- vorce bill and the London court granted a worldwide freezing order, under which Akhmedov's superyacht M.V. Luna was im- pounded in Dubai. Luna, an ex- pedition yacht built for Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich before Akhmedov bought it in 2014, has at least nine decks, space for 50 crew, two helipads, a vast swimming pool and a mini submarine. Last month, the Dubai court of appeal ruled that the Dubai lower courts' or- der to impound the yacht was wrong, allowing it to leave the port, documents seen by Re- uters showed. But lawyers acting for Akhmedova called the ruling a "procedural decision" and said the case had been referred to an- other Dubai court for a further hearing. "Akhmedova will simply con- tinue to pursue her claims in the Dubai Courts. She is bolstered by the fact that she successfully obtained additional orders in the English Court yesterday to secure Luna," the lawyers said in a statement. When Reuters visited the yacht on Thursday, moored in Dubai's Port Rashid, workers were installing new teak f looring on the large outdoor lower deck and a private security team was guarding it. Akhmedova began divorce proceedings in Britain in 2012. Akhmedov said he and his wife had already divorced in Russia in 2000, but various Russian and British courts have found no evidence to support this assertion. Forbes estimates Akhm- edov's net worth is US$1.4 bil- lion. The U.S. Treasury Depart- ment has put him on a list of sanctioned Russian state-owned companies and so-called "oli- garchs," identified as close to President Vladimir Putin. LT Omar Ha-Redeye signed a motion that the law society cannot audit or suspend a lawyer for failing to have a Statement of Principles. Bizarre Briefs CREDIT: GRAPHICSRF/SHUTTERSTOCK Visit or call 1-800-387-5164 for a 30-day, no risk evaluation ONTARIO LAWYER'S PHONE BOOK 2019 Ontario Lawyer's Phone Book is your best connection to legal services in Ontario with more than 1,400 pages of essential legal references. More detail and a wider scope of legal contact information for Ontario: • Over 26,600 lawyers listed • Over 8,700 law firms and corporate offices listed • Telephone numbers, e-mail addresses, office locations and postal codes Perfectbound Published December each year On subscription $87.50* One time purchase $91* Order No. L7798-8405 ISBN 978-0-7798-8405-6 Multiple copy discounts available Plus applicable taxes and shipping & handling. (prices subject to change without notice) CONNECT INSTANTLY TO ONTARIO'S LEGAL COMMUNITY Untitled-2 1 2019-04-04 10:40 AM 55 % YES, I AGREE 45 % NO, I DO NOT AGREE

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