Tag: report

30 Sep

Starting the Clock on Applicable Limitation Periods

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As lawyers well know, all lawsuits must be instituted within the applicable limitation period as a first hurdle to successful litigation. While the time periods within which one must start a claim are clear in the Limitations Act and in other legislation, the time from which those periods start to run is not always so clear and may be a matter for a judge to decide.

In Zurba v. Lakeridge Health Corp. (2010), 99 O.R. (3d) 596 (ON SCJ), the plaintiff fractured his ankle in a way that exposed his bone and internal tissues to grass and dirt in August of 2003. The doctor who initially treated the plaintiff cleaned and dressed the wound with a cast instead of proceeding with the necessary surgery. Significant ongoing infection at the fracture site later caused another doctor to suggest amputation. The plaintiff refused and after lengthy course of surgeries and therapy with no improvement, the plaintiff retained counsel and initiated the law suit. The plaintiff subsequently received an expert medical opinion from an orthopaedic expert that the treating doctor’s care was negligent.

The Ontario Superior Court considered the Limitations Act, 2002 and its applicability with respect to the discoverability of the cause of action. Lauwers, J. found that a plaintiff must not only know of the injury but must also know that someone erred before the cause of action crystallizes and the limitation period commences running.

The Court went on to establish two categories of cases: 1) Where an expert opinion is not necessary to know whether to institute an action because all the material facts are known; and 2) where an expert opinion is required to trigger the limitation period because all material facts cannot be known without one. In Zurba, notwithstanding that the statement of claim was issued before the expert medical report was obtained, the Court found that it could consider the report with respect to discoverability in order to determine when the limitation period began to run.

Sharon Davis – Click here for more information on Sharon Davis.

21 Oct

Mentoring: An Offer You Can’t (or shouldn’t) Refuse

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On Monday I wrote about the importance of mentoring. Today I’d like to illustrate. A November 2008 report by former Superior Court Chief Justice Patrick LeSage and University of Toronto law professor (now Superior Court Justice) Michael Code questioned the adequacy of sanctions for courtroom misconduct.

Up until recently, judges had two options to deal with inappropriate behaviour in the courtroom: a finding of contempt or referral to the Law Society of Upper Canada for possible disciplinary action. Out of the Code/LeSage report has come the recommendation and recent implementation of mentoring as a third option for behaviour not serious enough to merit disciplinary action.

Mentoring has traditionally been a learning mechanism that is completely voluntary, in that it is sought out and arranged by mentor and mentee on a more or less informal basis. Mentoring is taken to the next level with the new LSUC Mentoring Referral Protocols, which invite Ontario Court and Superior Court judges to identify lawyers in need of mentoring. 

Requests go to LSUC’s CEO, Malcom Heins. If mentoring is considered an appropriate response, the lawyer will receive a letter identifying the impugned behaviour together with a consent form. If the lawyer accepts mentoring, he or she will be referred to the Advocates Society, the Criminal Lawyers Association or the Ministry of the Attorney General to be paired with an appropriate mentor in his or her area of practice. For more information see this article in The Lawyer’s Weekly.  

Many legal organizations offer mentoring on a casual, as needed or ongoing basis. Here are some for your reference, should you wish to be a mentee or a mentor:

  1. The Advocates’ Society
  2. The Criminal Lawyers’ Association
  3. The Law Society of Upper Canada
  4. The Ontario Bar Association
  5. The Women’s Law Association of Ontario

It is worth noting that although our regulator has reponsibility for those amongst us who do not act as we should, LSUC’s Mentorship Program extends far beyond the Mentoring Referral Protocols. It is comprised of three initiatives that match volunteer lawyers with those interested in becoming lawyers; students-at-law to provide assistance and advice with their careers; and practising lawyers in general need of advice.

Happy Mentoring!

Sharon Davis

Sharon Davis – Click here for more information on Sharon Davis.

24 Sep

Alzheimer’s Advance: 115 Million by 2050

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We have reported on Alzheimer’s frequently in our blogs. A World Alzheimer’s Report released this week is another reminder of the widespread implications of the disease.

In Canada, about one in every 11 people over the age of 65 is living with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia. Worldwide, the figure is about 35.6 million and it will grow to 115 million in 40 years. The report focuses on the impact on caregivers, healthcare infrastructure and the economy.

Of course the impacts will be felt in the legal field as capacity issues occur more frequently: a spouse caring for his or her partner; children caring for parents and the state stepping in when no one else is available to assist. Each scenario will require that guardianship issues be addressed; personal property and personal care decisions will ideally have been addressed in advance.

A story that unfolded over the last few years is a case in point. A Nova Scotia couple was separated as a woman with dementia was brought back to Britain against the wishes of her husband. The siblings who took her back to the U.K. claimed they were following her wishes. The husband said otherwise. The saga ended this week as the woman’s ashes were returned to her husband. 

Advances in medicine may halt the advance of this disease. In any event, it is advisable to consider continuing powers for property and continuing powers for personal care.

Enjoy your day. 

Jonathan

Jonathan Morse – Click here for more information on Jonathan Morse. 

 

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