Nick Poon Comments on Anti-Black Racism in Commercial Lease Dispute for The Lawyer’s Daily

Nick P. Poon, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Business Disputes, Civil Litigation, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Contracts, Commercial Leasing, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Injunction & Specific Performance, Real Estate Litigation0 Comments

Nick Poon was recently asked by The Lawyer’s Daily to comment on the Ontario Superior Court of Justice decision in Elias Restaurant v. Keele Sheppard Plaza Inc., 2020 ONSC 5457. The Lawyer’s Daily article is found here: Court cites ‘prejudices’ to Black tenants in overturning landlord’s eviction bid. In this case, the tenant was a husband and wife team that operated a successful restaurant and bar offering African and Caribbean cultural foods primarily to the black community.  The tenant brought an application for relief from forfeiture after it missed the deadline to provide written notice to renew the lease.  Although the tenant attempted to contact the landlord, both before and after the deadline, to start the renewal process, the landlord appeared to have avoided its telephone calls.  The landlord sought to evict the tenant from the premises because the tenant allegedly did not attract “like minded family-oriented customers”.  Justice Morgan … Read More

Online Defamation and Use of Pseudonyms

Josef FinkelArbitration, Business Torts | Economic Torts, Civil Litigation, Commercial, Defamation, Injunction & Specific Performance, Norwich Order, Online Defamation0 Comments

Online Defamation (“Cyber Libel”) Many of our defamation matters come from the internet. These cases take many forms, from defamatory articles, to social media posts, to negative reviews of a business or person. Courts have recognized that online defamation or “cyber libel” is far more perverse than other forms of defamation. This is because internet users can reach the global population within seconds by publishing defamatory remarks about an individual or a business. As such, cyber libel can be significantly more damaging to a person’s business and/or reputation than other forms of defamation. Posting via Online Pseudonyms Some individuals go so far as to create aliases to post malicious and defamatory comments about others on the internet. In Ontario, you can sue an anonymous defamer by naming them as “John Doe” and/or “Jane Doe” in your claim against them. There are methods to determine the identity of these anonymous defamers, … Read More

Toronto Defamation Lawyers – Libel and Slander Law in Ontario

Josef FinkelArbitration, Business Litigation, Business Torts | Economic Torts, Civil Litigation, Commercial, Commercial Litigation, Online Defamation0 Comments

Defamation is the tort of false publication (whether written or oral). Typically, a publication which tends to lower a person’s reputation in the opinion of reasonable members of society, or to expose a person to hatred, contempt or ridicule, is defamatory and will attract liability. The major piece of legislation governing the law of defamation in Ontario is the Libel and Slander Act. According to the Act, you can be defamed in two ways: via either (1) Libel and/or (2) Slander. What is Libel? Defamatory communications may be by words, pictures, sounds, or other forms of communication.  They may be published on the internet, in social media postings, on websites, online reviews, chat rooms, or in other forms of broadcast. The dissemination of such defamatory comments or communications to the public is libelous. What is Slander? Slander is the public utterance of words that are meant to disparage a person … Read More

Construction Law Lawyers – An Overview of Construction Law

Josef FinkelCivil Litigation, Commercial, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Construction Liens, Construction Litigation, Contract Disputes0 Comments

Construction law and practice, largely governed by the Construction Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. C.30 (the “Act”), is a specialized field of law which has unique attributes, processes and deadlines. One cannot contract out of the application of the Act and must abide by its provisions. Without going into the various intricacies, the following is a brief primer on some (not all) key parts of the Act for those that may need legal assistance with a construction related dispute. The Initial Contract A construction project will typically start with a contract between a property owner and a general contractor. For a fee, the contractor takes on the responsibility of overseeing the project and supplying services and/or materials to the construction project. The Subcontracts The contractor often needs help from tradespeople (“subcontractors” or “subtrades”) with various aspects of the project like plumbing, painting, etc. For such assistance, the contractor tends to enlist … Read More

Is it a Gift or a Loan?

Josef FinkelCivil Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Gift Law0 Comments

Have you loaned money to a friend or relative who now refuses to repay you and alleges that the loan was actually a gift? Or are you on the other side of this problem wherein your friend or relative gifted you a sum of money a while ago but is now demanding repayment? These issues come up most often in the private sphere where parties to a transaction do not habitually document all of their ventures. Nevertheless, verbal loan or gift agreements of this sort are still enforceable. Litigation involving a disagreement about whether a transaction was a loan or a gift is typically commenced by the transferor (i.e. the person who has transferred the funds) who claims that the transfer was a loan and not a gift. If you require assistance in either commencing such a claim in the Superior Court of Justice or defending against same, we have … Read More

Toronto Lawyers for Mortgage Defaults – Assessing your Bank’s Bill

Josef FinkelCivil Litigation, Commercial, Mortgage Enforcement, Mortgage Litigation, Real Estate Litigation0 Comments

Once a mortgage has been defaulted on, banks and other mortgage lenders will often charge mortgagors (you-the borrower and their customer) exorbitant and excessive fees, whether it be intentional or not. Time and again, we have seen these fees levied at exponentially greater amounts than lenders are reasonably entitled to charge under the circumstances. The charging of such unreasonably high fees has not been viewed favourably by the courts. In the midst of Covid-19 related complications and with other financial difficulties remaining on the horizon, many property owners have been unable to continue to pay their mortgages on a consistent basis. One difficulty that presents itself for home owners in this type of situation is the ability of their mortgage lenders to sell their properties via “power of sale” proceedings. A power of sale is meant to pay off secured mortgage lenders for the amount that they are owed under … Read More

Are Examinations by Video Conference the “New Normal” During COVID-19?

Nick P. Poon, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Civil Litigation, Commercial, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Investment | Financial Services, Investment Fraud, Professional Liability, Securities Fraud, Securities Litigation0 Comments

On March 17, 2020, Ontario declared a State of Emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic and ushered in a new era of physical and social distancing rules.  Individuals are required to maintain a minimum distance of two metres from any other person who is not a member of the same household.  Gatherings of more than five people are banned unless they are members of a single household. Since March 17, 2020, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice has suspended all regular operations, including hearings for civil matters except urgent and time-sensitive motions and applications and other limited matters such as consent motions in writing.  Most of these hearings are conducted in writing, or remotely by telephone or video conference, due to physical and social distancing rules.  In-person hearings would only be granted in very limited circumstances. Although the Court may be closed for the time being, civil litigants and their … Read More

COVID-19 / Coronavirus: Urgent Hearings in Small Claims Court

Nick P. Poon, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Business Disputes, Business Interruption, Civil Litigation, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Leasing, Condo Litigation, Construction Litigation, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Creditors Rights, Debt and Enforcing Judgments, Event Cancellation, Event Termination, Fraud Recovery, Mortgage Litigation, Real Estate Litigation, Retail Litigation, Shopping Mall Lease Litigation0 Comments

Since March 16, 2020, all hearings in the Ontario Small Claims Court have been suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Although the Superior Court of Justice has had procedures in place to bring an urgent civil or commercial list hearing since March 15, 2020, the Small Claims Court was left without the ability to hear urgent motions and garnishment hearings until today. Today, the Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Justice released the updated Notice Regarding the Suspension of Small Claims Court Operations to outline the procedure to request an urgent hearing in Small Claims Court and to provide guidance on the type of matters a judge may find to be urgent.  Urgent  hearings may include: Cases in which a judgment debtor has an outstanding warrant for arrest issued in relation to a Small Claims Court proceeding; or Time-sensitive cases that would result in immediate and serious financial hardship … Read More

Ontario Courts Suspend Civil Jury Trials Due to COVID-19 / Coronavirus

Nick P. Poon, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Arbitration, Business Disputes, Business Interruption, Civil Litigation, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial List Matters, Commercial Litigation, Condo Litigation, Construction Litigation, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Debt and Enforcing Judgments, Family Law, Force Majeure, Franchise Law, Real Estate Litigation0 Comments

On April 20, 2020, the Chief Justice of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice issued a Notice to the Profession, Public, Accused Persons and the Media Regarding the Suspension of Criminal and Civil Jury Trials to advise that criminal and civil jury trials will be suspended until September, 2020, at the earliest. Since March 17, 2020, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice has suspended all regular operations, including adjourning all civil matters except: (a) civil motions and applications deemed to be urgent and time-sensitive by the court; (b) outstanding warrants issued in relation to a Small Claims Court or Superior Court civil proceeding; and (c) the following expanded civil matters, subject to each region’s notice and effective April 6, 2020: (i) pre-trial conferences that were cancelled between March 16 and May 31, 2020, and to be held for the purpose of settlement; (ii) Rule 7 motions or applications for approval … Read More

COVID-19 / Coronavirus: How to Schedule an Urgent Civil or Commercial List Hearing

Nick P. Poon, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Business Disputes, Civil Litigation, Commercial, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Contracts, Commercial Law, Commercial Leasing, Commercial List Matters, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Injunction & Specific Performance, Real Estate Litigation0 Comments

On March 15, 2020, the Chief Justice of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice released a Notice to the Profession advising that all scheduled civil hearings were adjourned until further notice.  The Notice to the Profession provides a procedure to schedule urgent and time-sensitive motions and applications where immediate and significant financial repercussions may result without a hearing.  When motion or application materials are filed, by email to the appropriate courthouse, seeking an urgent hearing, the triage judge will determine whether or not the matter is urgent and should be scheduled for a hearing. There have been a few recent endorsements reported in respect to the scheduling of urgent commercial lease matters. Urgent Motion – Relief From Forfeiture In Oppong v. Desoro Holdings Inc., 2020 ONSC 1697, the applicant sought relief from forfeiture to set aside the landlord’s termination of the lease.  Although the application was brought promptly and scheduled to be … Read More

Dominican Republic Vacation Claim Examined in Di Gregorio v. Sunwing Vacations Inc.

Janice Perri, B.A. (Summa Cum Laude)Appeals, Appellate Advocacy, Civil Litigation, Commercial Contracts, Contract Disputes, Cross-Border Litigation, Jurisdictional Challenges, Negligence, Summary Judgment, Travel & Tour Operators, Travel & Tourism0 Comments

In Di Gregorio v. Sunwing Vacations Inc., the appellants purchased a vacation package to attend the Dreams Punta Cana Resort and Spa through their travel agent, Sunwing Vacations Inc. (“Sunwing”). While on vacation, the balcony railing gave way resulting in the appellants sustaining injuries. The motion judge was found to have erred in not conducting a jurisdictional analysis pursuant to Club Resorts Ltd. v. Van Breda. The Court of Appeal stated that the relevant connecting factor is that the claim pleaded was based on an Ontario contract. The alleged tortfeasors do not need to be party to the contract, as all that is required is that a “defendant’s conduct brings it within the scope of the contractual relationship and that the events that give rise to the claim flow from the contractual relationship” as stated in Lapointe Rosenstein Marchand Melancon LLP v. Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP. The Court of … Read More

A Successful Constructive Dismissal Claim in Hagholm v. Coerio Inc.

Janice Perri, B.A. (Summa Cum Laude)Appeals, Appellate Advocacy, Civil Litigation, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Employment, Employment & Wrongful Dismissal, Summary Judgment, Wrongful Dismissal0 Comments

Constructive dismissal occurs when an employee is indirectly and effectively dismissed from the position or terms he/she had previously agreed formed the employment. Without the consent of the employee, a substantial alteration is presented that fundamentally changes the terms of the agreed upon contract. Hagholm v. Coerio Inc. represents a successful claim for constructive dismissal. The respondent had entered into her employment on the understanding that she could work from home three days a week. When this condition was changed, the respondent claimed constructive dismissal and ceased coming to work. The Motion Judge, on a motion for summary judgment, found that there was constructive dismissal because this was an essential term and the appellant arbitrarily withheld a bonus from the respondent. The Court of Appeal also confirmed that the respondent was not required to mitigate her damages for the appellant’s breach of contract in these circumstances. Also in this case, the … Read More

Entire Agreement Clause Upheld in Manorgate Estates Inc. v. Kirkor Architects and Planners

Janice Perri, B.A. (Summa Cum Laude)Appeals, Appellate Advocacy, Business Torts | Economic Torts, Civil Litigation, Commercial, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Contracts, Commercial Law, Commercial Litigation, Construction | Builders, Construction Litigation, Contract Disputes, Misrepresentation, Negligence, Real Estate | Developers, Real Estate Litigation0 Comments

Entire Agreement Clauses are meant to prevent negotiations that occurred prior to the contract being formed from influencing the Court’s interpretation of the terms set out in the final contract. In other words, past discussions are to have no bearing on the understanding of the contractual terms. In theory, a fully integrated agreement of this kind supplants any earlier oral or written agreements. There is competing jurisprudence in which Entire Agreement Clauses have been both effective and ineffective. However, Manograte Estates Inc. v. Kirkor Architects and Planners is a recent Ontario Court of Appeal decision where an Entire Agreement Clause was effective. In Manograte Estates Inc. v. Kirkor Architects and Planners, the Ontario Court of Appeal upheld the Motion Judge’s decision that the Entire Agreement Clause in the relevant agreement, regarding architectural consulting for a construction project, operated as a complete defence to the appellants’ claim of alleged negligent misrepresentation. The Entire Agreement Clause … Read More