Canadian Lawyer

October 2020

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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UPFRONT 6 www.canadianlawyermag.com NEWS BRIEFS What lockdowns mean for personal injury victims A recent blog post from Toronto personal injury firm Neinstein LLP discussed some of the impacts of pandemic lockdowns on both accident victims and the lawyers who represent them. For instance, Canadians with disabilities face new obstacles amid the COVID-19 pandemic, such as limited access to food banks and public transit and the rising costs of care, groceries and household items, said the firm, which noted that food delivery services and private transportation services remain as expensive as ever. MedMal faces short- and long-term issues raised by COVID Medical malpractice lawyers see the crisis in long-term care facilities and retirement homes as a product of systemic issues. Erik Joffe, a lawyer with Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers, says the system needs support to get through this crisis but has wider concerns around how well evidence will be recorded in this crisis. Melissa Miller, a partner at Howie Sacks and Henry LLP, says she worries that the crisis might lead to wider negligence issues. They both ask what form the pursuit of justice will take once this crisis abates — and we begin to ask ourselves how we let the situation in these facilities get so dire. Frank Marrocco leading independent long-term care commission Ontario has established an independent Long-Term Care COVID-19 Commission, chaired by Associate Chief Justice Frank Marrocco of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario. The other commissioners are Dr. Jack Kitts, former president and chief executive officer of The Ottawa Hospital, and Angela Coke, former deputy minister of Ontario's Ministry of Government and Consumer Services and senior executive of the Ontario Public Service, where she worked for more than 27 years. The commissioners expect to release their final report on April 30, 2021. Superior Court finds psychiatric treatments amounted to assault The Ontario Superior Court of Justice has found that two psychiatrists had committed assault and battery and caused long-term harm to mental health patients for experimental treatments, which included solitary confinement, forced nudity and hallucinogenic drugs. In Barker v. Barker, 2020 ONSC 3746, the plaintiffs were 28 former patients involuntarily admitted to the Oak Ridge Division of the Mental Health Centre in Penetanguishene, Ont. While they initially filed their case as a proposed class action two decades ago, it has since been denied certification and has been reconstituted as an individual action. Report urges WSIB to improve decision-making in workplace cancer claims The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board can enhance its evidence-based decision-making relating to occupational cancer claims by updating its list of presumptions regarding cancer in accordance with current scientific knowledge, states a recent report. The report says schedules 3 and 4 of Ontario Regulation 175/98 should be based on exposure to carcinogenic agents or processes, instead of being based on specific employers, to have a broader scope, says the report by Dr. Paul Demers, director of the Occupational Cancer Research Centre in Toronto. When the pandemic ends, Zoom should remain, says personal injury lawyer Ryan Naimark says technology comes with flexibility and efficiency that closes files more quickly BY FORCING lawyers and other parties to a legal dispute to operate through video- conferencing, the COVID-19 pandemic has produced a new flexibility for all involved, and that has resulted in files being completed faster and more efficiently, says Ryan Naimark, founder of Naimark Law Firm, a plaintiff-side personal injury firm. "Once people became aware of the tech- nology and started to use the technology, most people liked it, and my expectation is that things are never going to go back. The genie's out of the bottle," says Naimark. "Even if COVID were to end tomorrow — and we hope that it does but don't expect that it will . . . as long as the other side is willing, I'm very open to continue to use this technology, going forward. I just find it more convenient and more efficient." It was a different story when COVID struck in mid-March. "Everything was cancelled," Naimark says. Examinations for discovery, mediations, pretrials, trials, arbitrations — nothing could go forward. Litigation is slow at the best of times and PERSONAL INJURY UPDATE

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