Law Times

June 12, 2017

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Firm gets nearly $600K after fight over files BY ALEX ROBINSON Law Times A judge has ordered a law- yer to pay his former em- ployer almost $600,000 for files he took to his new firm when he left. In Srebrolow Lebowitz Spada- fora PC v. PW Lawyers Profes- sional Corporation et al., lawyer Paul Wilkins left Srebrolow Leb- owitz Spadafora PC to start his own firm, leading to a dispute over amounts owed under an agree- ment the two parties struck that required them to pay each other for certain files retained. Lawyers say the decision serves as a reminder to lawyers who are leaving an employer to start their own firm to make sure they are aware of their obligations to their old firm and clients. "One of the lessons from this case really is that if you're leaving a firm and planning on taking clients with you, make sure that whatever agreement you have with your former employer is clear and unambiguous to avoid a looming liability," says Aaron Grinhaus, of Grinhaus Law Firm, who was not involved in the case. When Wilkins left the firm, the agreement that was reached entitled the lawyer to take certain files with him as long as he paid the firm 50 per cent of net fees he received on them. The agreement also held that Wilkins would re- ceive 20 per cent of net fees from the firm on files it kept that he would have worked on. The written agreement includ- ed a schedule of files Wilkins took with him, and included a complete list of every client and names of re- ferral sources with a breakdown of percentage of referral fees paid to referral sources. Last summer, SLS learned from the website of Wilkins' new firm that two claims related to a par- ticular client had been settled for $5.9 million. While both sides in the dispute agreed they owed some money GUIDING PRINCIPLES Human rights figure into corporate law P7 FOCUS ON International/Cross-Border Law P9 See Don't, page 2 PM #40762529 $5.00 • Vol. 28, No.20 June 12, 2017 L AW TIMES C O V E R I N G O N T A R I O ' S L E G A L S C E N E • W W W . L A W T I M E S N E W S . C O M SUMMARY JUDGMENT Useful tool when limited evidence is available P4 BY ALEX ROBINSON Law Times A judge has thrown out a long-running legal fight over a traffic ticket for delay in a recent Ontario Court of Justice case that lawyers say illustrates how the Supreme Court of Canada's R. v. Jordan de- cision might actually be lengthen- ing delays in such matters. Law student Tanvir Islam has endured more than two years of legal wrangling over an $85 ticket Toronto police gave him in 2014 for allegedly failing to obey a stop sign — a Part 1 offence under the Provincial Offences Act. Jordan Glick, a partner with WeirFoulds LLP, who was not in- volved in the case, says the decision shows that the Supreme Court's decision in Jordan is allowing provincial courts to tolerate longer delays than they would have under the old framework. The Jordan decision put an 18-month cap on delays in provincial courts, over- turning the previous guidelines that held delays could not exceed eight to 10 months, Glick says. "I suspect that a lot of cases that would have been viewed as in- tolerable from a delay standpoint prior to Jordan from a POA Part 1 perspective . . . may now be viewed as tolerable delay, which might lead to greater complacency, less resources, less of a focus on these offences, which really do touch quite a large volume of people in Ontario every year," he says. In the decision, R. v. Islam, jus- tice of the peace Joanna Opalinski declined to rule on whether the presumptive ceiling of 18 months should apply to Part 1 matters, "as they are intuitively supposed to be simple in nature," but went on to say a ceiling in the range of 12 months might be more appropri- ate. She added that it was not ne- cessary for the court to rule on this point in this matter as the delay was well in excess of 18 months. Islam was first issued his ticket in November 2014 and later opted for a trial rather than paying the fine. He said he was not aware that he missed a trial date in April 2015 until he later went to try to renew his driver's licence. While he was convicted in ab- sentia on the original trial date, Islam was granted a new trial scheduled for February 2016. The matter was then adjourned See Wrangling, page 2 Mary Paterson says a recent Ontario Court of Justice case is an example of frustration caused to all parties by the procedural difficulties of the courts system. Photo: Robin Kuniski Battle over ticket shows issues with Jordan Aaron Grinhaus says lawyers should avoid taking clients with them when they start their own firm. Follow Contact Nicole Breakey 1-888-781-9083 ext. 117 E-mail: SCAN | CODE | LOAD ocudavit-EARLUG_LT_Apr24_17.indd 1 2017-04-20 7:54 AM YOUR INSTANT CONNECTION TO CANADA'S LEGAL NETWORK • an up-to-date alphabetical listing • contact information • legal and government contact information ORDER YOUR COPY TODAY! 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