Articles Posted in Legal News

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Recently the Ontario Government increased the cost of many Court filing fees. Notably, the cost of filing a Trial Record in the Ontario Superior Court doubled from $405 to $810. Like a cruel and ironic April Fool’s joke, the increased fee schedule will be implemented on April 1st,  2019. I cannot recall any form of debate or consultation that went in to increasing. If are seeking out the legislation with the increased court filing fees, you can find it by clicking the link here. 

Imagine that: $810 just to have your case placed on the trial list. This does not take in to consideration the cost of filing a statement of claim ($229), the cost of filing a motion record ($160) , the cost of a Jury Notice ($130), or the costs of any summonses to witness ($30 each).

So: If you want to have a civil jury trial in a personal injury case, whereby you bring 2 motions, the cost in court filing fees alone for a Plaintiff would be $1,359 plus the costs of summonses at $30 each. This does not take in to consideration the filing costs for a Defendant; nor does it take in to consideration the cost of legal fees, HST on legal fees, or disbursements (faxes, photocopies, medical records, police reports etc.)

Lesson: Litigation is expensive and access to the Courts is reserved for the wealthy.

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Goldfinger Injury Lawyers had the privilege of attending an advance sneak peak at the upcoming Canadian International Auto Show 2019 from the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. In case you’re interested in attending, the show is being held from February 15-24, 2019 and features some of the largest collections of production and concept vehicles under one roof in Canada.

One of the things we keep an eye on at each show are the auto manufacturer’s commitments to vehicle and pedestrian safety; along with any innovations which really jumped out at us.

Here are some of the highlights from our trip to the show:

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Recently, Goldfinger Injury Lawyers was nominated for “Top Boutiques for Personal Injury” by Canadian Lawyer Magazine for 2019. The post from Canadian Lawyer Magazine indicates “we’re looking for your input on the best firms specializing in personal injury law”.

This is a huge honour for my law firm, which I began 10 years ago with just one person. Since that time we have expanded both in personnel and in breadth.

If you haven’t voted, please do. Here’s the link .Your vote for our law firm would be a very big deal; and here’s why::

If you have been following Goldfinger Injury Lawyers in the news, the irony of this nomination does not escape us. Our advertising saga with the Law Society of Ontario has been well publicized in the Toronto Star and other media sources. We have appeared on the front page of the Toronto Star 3 times(both published and digital). When Tom Brady won Superbowl LI on February 5, 2017, my picture and story was right under Tom Brady’s where he was raising the Vince Lombardi Championship Trophy.

Why the media picked up on the story is a source of another debate. The demonization of the personal injury lawyer? Everyone loves to hate on lawyers? A debate about the Law Society regulating its own? A debate on lawyer advertising? People hate lawyer advertising? Or people just hate lawyers and hate sells newspapers….

The complaint against my law firm was leaked to the Toronto Star before we even had a chance to respond to the allegations, when the complaint was in the very early confidential investigatory stages. All of the complainant law firms deny leaking the story to the Toronto Star. Maybe it was someone on the inside at the Law Society who wanted my story to get out. The Law Society denies the leak as well.

It’s also important to note that the complaint against my firm was not brought by a member of the general public, a former client, or a prospective client. It was brought by seven competitor law firms in London Ontario. These seven competitor law firms are all much larger than my law firm. Instead of reaching out to my law firm and telling me that they didn’t like my advertising, they went straight to Law Society. Talk about camaraderie and respect for your peers. The Law Society never reached out to my law firm either. They went straight to a formal discipline proceeding never affording my law firm an opportunity to rectify any wrongs. No invitation to correct any wrongs was ever extended. The wrongs against my law firm can be seen on virtually every lawyer or paralegal website in the business, but I don’t make it my place to issue a formal complaint against my peers for advertising issues. If I have a problem with someone’s marketing or a message that I truly find offensive, I’ll just give that person a call and let them know.  In my experience, a little bit of dialogue can go a long way towards getting problems solved. This is what we’re taught as lawyers.

What could have been dealt with by way of simple phone call or email has been a part of my life for well over 2 years, with no end in sight. The Law Society has spent countless hours and dollars litigating my case. Four Pre-Hearing Conferences; One Hearing; One Appeal; One Motion; with written submissions to come. They hired an investigator to attend at my meeting locations in Peterborough, Kitchener and London to look around. A total of 9 different Benchers have now heard my case, with likely more to come.

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Being a Plaintiff who is not familiar with the civil justice system is very frustrating.

For starters, you’ve needed to retain a lawyer and sue in Court to get the results you need. Because you’ve commenced a legal action, then we can presume that you’ve exhausted every other recourse and Court is your last option. It would have been far easier and less expensive to keep the lawyers out of your dispute and work things out between the parties. The nice thing about working things out without lawyers and without the Court is that you get to control the process and you don’t have to jump through the hoops which the Court sets down. These hoops can an tricky for lawyers and for self represented litigants alike. All of these points are blown out the door if you can’t find a lawyer to take on your case. In that situation, you’re on your own; left alone to navigate the legal system on your own. The great abyss lies ahead. You can expect countless hours in your local library in the future, along with many sleepless nights.

One of the most frustrating things for the clients at Goldfinger Injury Lawyers is coming to the realization that the legal process isn’t anywhere near as fast as we see on TV.

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In a perfect world, the Courtroom presents a level playing field. There are rules which are meant to be followed. There is a neutral unbiased judge who acts as trier of fact; decides right from wrong; just from unjust.

When the rules of the Courtroom are tweaked, those tweaks have unintended (or sometimes secretly deeply calculated) consequences.

With this edition of the Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog, I would like to present to the general public what some tweaks in our Courtrooms can do to the Average Joe/Jane at trial.

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Personal injury law should be simple.

Plaintiff sustains an injury in an accident (the damages component).

Defendant’s negligence caused the accident (the liability component)

Plaintiff’s injuries directly caused as a result of the Defendant’s negligence (the causation component).

Any personal injury case without all three of these components will fail. When you put it out in such easy to understand terms, it would seem that personal injury litigation is very straight forward.

But it’s not.

Insurer’s will challenge the Plaintiff’s position every way until Sunday. That’s their job. Insurance companies don’t gratuitously throw money at claims which they don’t believe have merit. And even claims which they believe have merit are viewed through a difference valuation lens than then injured accident victim and his/her personal injury lawyer. Translation: The injured Plaintiff will think that their case is worth a lot. The Defendant insurer will think the opposite. Getting parties to agree to a valuation of damages can be a tricky exercise.

Aside from the normal defense tactics of surveillance (both in person and online), defence medical examination, digging in to one’s pre-accident history and testing their credibility at each step; there are other barriers to a Plaintiff’s recovery which can be even more difficult to overcome than a tactful defence lawyer.

It’s those hidden barriers to recovery which we wish to examine in this week’s edition of the Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog Post.

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This instalment of the Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog is not your typical personal injury piece. Reason being, this has not been your typical week in the world of the law and politics in Ontario. As detailed below, this has been a historic week.

Earlier today, Doug Ford and his Conservative majority government enacted section 33 of the Charter, commonly referred to as the Notwithstanding Clause in order to uphold The Better Local Government Act.

The Better Local Government Act was passed by Premier Ford’s majority government to reduce the number of seats in the ongoing Toronto Municipal election from 47 seats, down to 25.

The Honourable Justice Belobaba ruled that Premier Ford’s Better Local Government Act was unconstitutional as it violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Premier Ford recalled legislature today and passed a resolution declaring that The Better Local Government Act would apply “notwithstanding” the Charter.

Essentially, Premier Ford used his supreme constitutional power to overrule the decision of a Judge to pass the legislation which the Judge had deemed to be unconstitutional.

Constitutional lawyers across Canada and legal academics rejoice. They haven’t seen so much CORAF action since the 1980’s.

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Recently in the news, a Windsor Ontario doctor was disciplined for over prescribing opioid medication. His license to practice medicine was revoked. This was the first disciplinary case of its kind involving the over prescribing of opioid medication where the doctor lost his license to practice medicine.

Also recently, the government of British Columbia launched the first law suit of its kind against opioid manufacturers and distributors alleging that the drugs created more negatives and burdens for the health care industry than benefits.

The trend is that opioid medication is bad. Personal Injury lawyers see this trend on the front lines with respect to how their clients react to opioid medication. Times are certainly changing and medication trends are heading in a different direction. They are trending towards cannabis.

It used to be that smoking cannabis for chronic pain was taboo. Pot smokers were frowned upon by the Courts, insurers and jurors thinking that the smoker was masking their smoking habit just to get high. The disingenuous comment “I need to smoke pot for my pain” was very common and was sneered upon.

With the recent crack downs on opioid medication, and a better understanding of the potential harms which opioid medication can cause; more people (and doctors) are seeking out alternative remedies. Enter medical cannabis.

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Fact: Goldfinger Injury Lawyers receives a spike in phone calls from prospective clients both during, and after the Labour Day Long Weekend.

Fact: The majority of these calls come from injured accident victims and their loved ones inquiring about their personal injury claims as a consequence of somebody’s negligence which took place over the long weekend.

Fact: The majority of these accidents and resulting injuries are avoidable. Often times, these injury claims arise on account of mental errors, errors in judgment, or just bad behaviour.

Here’s what you need to know heading in to the Labour Day Long Weekend from the perspective of a personal injury lawyer who has seen a few things…

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*UPDATED RELEASE (July 31, 2018)

Brian Goldfinger’s Legal Advertising Case Concluded

TORONTO: A resolution reached on June 20, 2018 between ‎lawyer Brian Goldfinger and the regulator of Ontario’s legal profession has resulted in new case law that will aid lawyers in navigating the rules that govern lawyer advertising.

A resolution agreement that was initially presented to a panel of adjudicators at the Law Society of Ontario Tribunal on June 20, 2018, stated that some of Mr. Goldfinger’s advertising constituted “misconduct” under the Law Society’s rules, but that it was neither dishonest nor intentionally deceptive.

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