Amazing COVID-19 Virus Decision by Ontario Court of Appeal Sends Warning to Lawyers

Also: Lawyers for Best Buy, Staples, London Drugs and Canada Computers using COVID-19 Virus Delay Tactic

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

Today the Court of Appeal for Ontario told the legal profession, litigants, and in fact everyone in Ontario that they cannot use the COVID-19 Virus pandemic as an excuse to delay or obstruct justice.

Using the strongest of language and leaving no uncertainty, Justice David M. Paciocco put all Ontario lawyers on notice – by refusing to adjourn a condominium fees dispute and ordering lawyers to use electronic documents and teleconferencing so the case can proceed as scheduled.

Further, the court will make its decision in the case based upon written submissions already filed and will use teleconferencing to question the lawyers about their submissions. The case will go ahead as scheduled on April 9, 2020.

And what if a lawyer claims that they are “uncomfortable working with electronic documents because they are accustomed to working with paper and is only slowly building up the technical capacity for law firm employees to work remotely” ???

The Ontario Court of Appeal savaged the lawyer and in effect answered “Cry me a river. You will do this – or else.”

“It is not in the interests of justice to overburden the court by adjourning matters that can be dealt with fairly, as scheduled. The backlog that will be created by cases that must be adjourned to protect the public and ensure fair hearings will be imposing and it should not be unnecessarily aggravated.”

Justice David M. Paciocco, Court of Appeal for Ontario. Carleton Condominium Corporation No. 476 v. Wong, 2020 ONCA 244 PDF Here

It must have been truly humiliating for 20-year senior Toronto Bay Street lawyer Newton Wong to petition to the court that he and his entire law firm…

“cannot prepare adequately for an oral hearing because his materials are at his law firm and contain post-its and other endorsements that he would rely upon. He has made the personal choice, that I respect, that he will not risk the health of his employees by sending them into the office to assemble and retrieve this material, and he himself is not capable of doing so without help. He is uncomfortable working with electronic documents because he is accustomed to working with paper and is only slowly building up the technical capacity for his law firm employees to work remotely.”

The court ordered THE OPPOSING LAWYERS to provide to Newton Wong electronic copies of his own materials filed with the courts so that he doesn’t have to attend his office and can work from home. Oh, the shame.

“The appellant’s adjournment request is denied.”

Justice David M. Paciocco, Court of Appeal for Ontario. Carleton Condominium Corporation No. 476 v. Wong, 2020 ONCA 244

The message to lawyers is this… If you have Internet and can receive emails and .pdf documents, you have a duty to advance justice as we face the COVID-19 health crisis.

Lawyers for Best Buy, Staples, London Drugs and Canada Computers using COVID-19 Virus Delay Tactic

In the Super Channel 4Stores anti-piracy case, the opposing lawyers are trying to delay the May 7, 2020 injunction hearing while their clients continue to profit from promoting copyright piracy.

I’m no lawyer, but anyone can see that Justice David M. Paciocco just sent a big message to the legal profession and litigants… Don’t even think about the tactic of using the COVID crisis to delay or obstruct justice if your case can reasonably proceed on schedule.

So Much for The COVID Excuse!

Coming in Part 2: The full details of how lawyers and witnesses on both sides of Super Channel’s 4Stores case recently conducted cross-examinations using video conferencing. Lawyers, witnesses and the court reporter came together online from Vancouver, Toronto, Barrie and Florida.

Learn about Super Channel’s anti-piracy lawsuit against Best Buy, Staples, London Drugs and Canada Computers – ChangeTheCulture.CA

One comment

  • Grace M Joubarne

    Well articulated…thank you Donald.

    BTW when will we see your video? Been excited to see it…

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