Canadian Lawyer

March 2022

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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Page 15 of 51

FEATURE 14 CROSS EXAMINED "It would be inaccurate to say I was some sort of heroic figure taking on these great forces. I never felt it was personal like that" the case in many other areas of law, such as criminal and family law. He adds that he doesn't see his clients as victims but as survivors. " The clich├ęs of a survivor as this profoundly damaged dysfunctional person is simply not true. A lot of our clients are extremely functional in certain areas. We've represented professionals, we've represented any number of quite accomplished people, but they've been damaged in other aspects of their life." The Mount Cashel lawsuit was first filed in December 1999 by four former orphanage residents against the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corp. of St. John's (the Archdiocese), the legal entity of the Archdiocese of St. John's, and the Christian Brothers Institute Inc. The original trial decision from the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador found that the Archdiocese was neither vicariously liable nor negligent when it came to the abuse the boys suffered at the hands of the Christian Brothers. The trial court accepted the Archdiocese's defence that the Christian Brothers Institute was an inde- pendent religious order that operated the orphanage separately from the Archdiocese, and it was ultimately not responsible for any torts taking place under church canon law or civil law. Eugene Meehan of Supreme Advocacy, whose firm worked with Budden & Associates on the appeal, said there was hope that the appeal decision would be "a powerful motivation for those who control institutions engaged in the care of children to take steps to prevent and eliminate sexual abuse." Budden also shows empathy for his adver- saries despite the long battle, acknowledging the devastating impact of his clients' victory on the institution, which recently filed for creditor protection. "The Archdiocese is now attempting to come to terms with their overwhelming exposure because they lost the representative cases. They had a judgment of almost two and a half million dollars arising out of four claims. And there are probably 100 claims or more out there. So they're looking at enormous financial damages." Now that the most significant case in his career to date has concluded, Budden is excited to focus on his inquiry work. He recently served as commission counsel on the Public Inquiry Respecting Ground Search and Rescue for Lost and Missing Persons. Since 2018, Budden has represented the Muskrat Falls Concerned Citizens Coalition at the Muskrat Falls Inquiry. He says his inquiry work has allowed him to question former premiers and senior government and business leaders in the province. Like his work with survivors, this work has a significant public interest element, but the evidence is presented differently, which gives Budden less time to prepare. "You don't necessarily get all the infor- mation in advance, so it's a real 'think on your feet' kind of experience. And it's also just fascinating." MOUNT CASHEL ORPHANAGE LITIGATION 1999: Lawsuit filed against the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corp. of St. John's (the Archdiocese) by four former residents of the orphanage 2016: 35-day trial 2018: Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador releases its decision that the Archdiocese was neither vicariously liable nor negligent 2020: Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal overturns the trial decision, finding that the Archdiocese has a responsibility to compensate victims Jan 2021: Supreme Court of Canada denies leave Dec 2021: Archdiocese files for creditor protection

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