Canadian Lawyer

September 2020

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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UPFRONT 12 www.canadianlawyermag.com ATLANTIC UPDATE NEWS BRIEFS N.L. appeal court overturns Mount Cashel trial ruling St. John's archdiocese held 'vicariously liable' in sexual abuse lawsuit A LANDMARK ruling in the Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal, which found the Archdiocese of St. John's has a responsi- bility to compensate victims of the horrific abuse suffered by boys at the Mount Cashel Orphanage, builds on previous law justifying conditions for going after "deeper pockets" to address past wrongs, according to the lawyers representing the plaintiffs. Holding the Archdiocese vicariously liable in this case recognizes that, if one defendant in a similar lawsuit doesn't have the ability to pay compensation, it is a legitimate goal to hold another party with "deeper pockets" liable if they meet the criteria of vicarious liability, says Ottawa-based lawyer Eugene Meehan, of Supreme Advocacy, who repre- sented the plaintiffs. Meehan says there is hope it "will be a powerful motivation for those who control institutions engaged in the care of children to take steps to prevent and eliminate sexual abuse." The decision in John Doe v. The Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation of St. John's, could open the floodgates for others to sue the Archdiocese of St. John's, as well as better compensate the four John Does in this case and others it represents, says Geoff Budden of the St. John's law firm Budden and Associates, who also represents the plaintiffs. The deci- sion could be appealed by the Archdiocese to the Supreme Court of Canada. The lawsuit was first filed December 1999 by the four former residents of the orphanage, whose names are protected by a publication ban. They represent about 60 former resi- N.S. appoints two Provincial Court judges Aleta Cromwell and Perry Borden have been named to the Provincial Court and the Family Court of Nova Scotia. Cromwell was most recently the managing lawyer with the legal services division of the N.S. Department of Justice. Borden has been with the province's Public Prosecution Service since 2007, his most recent role as senior Crown attorney. The appointments bring the total number of judges on the court to 32, and the two will be among six judges with the court who identify as Black or African Nova Scotian. Individual employee medical cannabis use test needed The Court of Appeal of Newfoundland and Labrador ruled that without a standard scientific standard to determine if medical cannabis impairs the ability to perform a job, an employer must accommodate the employee through an individual assessment. In International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 1620 v Lower Churchill Transmission Construction Employers' Association Inc., the union grieved on behalf of a labourer who failed a drug test and disclosed he used medically authorized cannabis. The appeal court remitted the matter to see if an alternative test exists to determine if the employee can work safely. Richard Devlin takes acting dean role at Schulich Dalhousie University's Schulich School of Law has name Richard Devlin as acting dean, taking the role while current dean Camille Cameron is on medical leave. Since 1987, Devlin has intermittently served as a faculty member at the law school. In 2005, he was appointed a Dalhousie University Research Professor. Devlin has taught contracts and judicial decision-making, ethics and professionalism and Aboriginal and Indigenous law. Devlin holds an LLB from Queen's University, Belfast and an LLM from Queen's University, Kingston. PEI introduces RISE sexual violence help program Prince Edward Island has introduced RISE, a new program to assist victims of sexual harassment and violence in navigating the justice system. RISE will provide individuals with access to free legal advice from a lawyer for a maximum of four hours. The program is supported by a five-year funding agreement with Justice Canada and by a two-year $200,000 funding agreement with the PEI Department of Justice and Public Safety. Program staff will collaborate with Community Legal Information, Rape and Sexual Assault Services and Victim Services. Yarmouth suspends bylaw restricting election signs Advocacy by The Canadian Constitution Foundation has resulted in the suspension of a bylaw in Yarmouth, N.S. restricting the right to display election signs on private property. The bylaw was to affect federal, provincial and municipal elections. But Yarmouth Town Council suspended the bylaw on Aug. 14, following a closed meeting. The move came after the CCF sent a letter and a news release decrying the new law. "We are relieved that the residents of Yarmouth will be able to freely express their political opinions," said CCF litigation director, Christine Van Geyn.

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