Canadian Lawyer

July 2021

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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UPFRONT 6 NEWS BRIEFS Award more than tripled on appeal for fired articling student at B.C. firm Acumen Law Lower court judge erred in not factoring in lost opportunity to become a lawyer, appeal court says AN ARTICLING student whom a Vancouver criminal law firm fired for alleged trespassing, breach of contract and questionable blog post- ings has seen her award for damages more than tripled after the Court of Appeal for British Columbia ruled the lower court judge erred in not awarding damages for her lost opportunity to become a lawyer. "It would have been within the parties' reasonable contemplation when they entered the contract that the respondent would lose the opportunity to become a lawyer if the contract was wrongfully terminated," Justice Richard Goepel wrote on behalf of the three-judge panel who heard the appeal. In dismissing the appeal of Acumen Law and its founder Paul Doroshenko, the appeal court increased the general damages awarded to former articling student Melissa Ojanen by $100,000 — to $118,934 from $18,934 — and awarded $25,000 in punitive damages. Ojanen also received aggravated damages of $50,000 and is entitled to the appeal and cross-appeal costs. In ruling in favour of Ojanen's request for improved awards for damages, Justice Goepel wrote: "The trial judge erred in not awarding punitive damages, as the general and aggra- vated damages awards were insufficient to achieve the goals of denunciation, deterrence, and retribution in light of the appellants' highly reprehensible misconduct." B.C. Court gives ok to law fighting renovictions in New Westminster The B.C. Court of Appeal has upheld a "renoviction" bylaw passed in New Westminster two years ago. In an Apr. 30 decision, the court rejected arguments of a private company that wanted to evict all residents of a 21-unit building. The municipality passed the bylaw saying that landlords can't evict tenants without permits or provide a relocation agreement. Landlords caught doing so could be fined up to $1,000 a day and lose their business licences. In addition, they must prove the renovations are necessary and that it would be unlivable for tenants to stay during the renovations. Woman in polyamorous relationship can be named as second mother to child: B.C. court A British Columbia judge ruled that a third person — a second mother — be added to a child's birth certificate. The court acknowledged that current family laws in the province did not contemplate the concept of polyamorous families. "There is a gap in the [Family Law Act] with regard to children conceived through sexual intercourse who have more than two parents," Justice Sandra Wilkinson of the Supreme Court of B.C. wrote in a decision released Apr. 23. To remedy this gap, Justice Wilkinson exercised her jurisdiction to declare the second mother is a legal parent, alongside the child's birth parents. No unreasonable trial delay caused by COVID-19, Alberta court rules COVID-19 may have contributed to a year's delay in the trial of three accused with drug trafficking, but the delay was unforeseen and unavoidable, an Alberta Court of Appeal Court judge ruled. As a result, it does not mean the court has surpassed the 30-month Jordan ceiling for getting a trial within a reasonable time. "There was . . .need for emergency protection orders, to hear family and parenting matters, and to process surrogate matters," she wrote. "In essence, life carried on in an even more socially," Justice Nancy Dilts wrote in a ruling released in April. Disbarred Edmonton lawyer has his one-year jail sentence reduced to 90 days A disbarred lawyer has had his one-year jail sentence reduced to 90 days which he will serve on weekends, following an Alberta Court of Appeal decision. Shawn Beaver, a former Edmonton criminal lawyer, suspended and disbarred by the Law Society of Alberta after having stolen from clients' trust accounts, must also provide 200 hours of community service. "We conclude that the chambers judge erred in arriving at the sanction of one-year incarceration," Justice Jack Watson wrote on behalf of the three-judge appeal panel. "On assessing mitigating factors, it is an error to wholly reject . . . those factors advanced by Mr. Beaver." Lost bid to block set-top box sales upholds notion that neutral technology can't infringe copyright Edmonton-based Allarco Entertainment, which owns Super Channel, lost its initial bid to block the sale of certain TV set-top boxes by four major retailers. In Allarco Entertainment 2008 Inc v Staples, Court of Queen's Bench Justice Michael Lema rejected Allarco's argument that the retailers in question — Staples, Best Buy, London Drugs and Canada Computers — were encouraging customers to use the devices to access pirated material. He denied the injunction to stop sales. He also upheld the principle that neutral technologies do not infringe copyright. WESTERN UPDATE

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