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News of sexual assaults involving Hockey Canada have shocked and appalled Canadians. Hockey is religion in Canada; so when the news broke; it broke hard and fast.

In May 2022, Hockey Canada settled a $3.55-million lawsuit filed in April by a woman who alleges she was sexually assaulted by eight former Canadian Hockey League players following a Hockey Canada Foundation event in London, ON in June 2018. The allegations were never tested or tried in Court. The London Police Service did not press any charges in relation to these allegations; but they will be re-opening their investigation.

Another alleged sexual assault took place in 2003 at the World Juniors tournament in Halifax. Hockey Canada “heard a rumour about ‘something bad’ at the 2003 World Juniors. In order to learn more, Hockey Canada hired a third-party investigator to try to find more information.” The allegations have not been tried or tested in Court and remain allegations. But Halifax Police is opening an investigation in to this case as well. Players have come forward and denied any knowledge of the allegations.

Here is why these cases are so interesting to personal injury lawyers, and to the public at large:

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A few weeks ago I was in conversation with a person who asked what I did for a living. I told him that I was a lawyer. He thought that was really cool. When he asked what kind of law I practiced; I told him I was a personal injury lawyer and he looked at me with distain. I wasn’t quite sure why.

Practicing personal injury law is the very essence of civil litigation. At the route of it; personal injury lawyers get innocent accident victims fair compensation for their injuries. We Get People Paid. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that. I cannot think of a more noble and pure pursuit when it comes to civil litigation.

Every time I hand someone over their settlement cheque, I am helping to stimulate the economy at a grass route level.

Don’t believe me?

A personal injury lawyer is quite literally re-distributing wealth from large, multi-billion dollar insurance companies; trickling down to injured accident victims; many of whom were struggling to make ends meet before the litigation even got started. The money is going from super rich corporations to regular, everyday individuals. Very Robin Hood-esque!

When my law firm hands someone a settlement cheque; they will spend that cheque in so many different ways. You remember when Oprah handed out gifts (like free cars) on her TV show. You Get a Car! And You Get a Car! And You Get a Car! It’s kinda the same thing!

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The title of this Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog Post, “Brian Goldfinger and the Case of the Bad Delivery” sounds like it could be a young adult mystery novel. I mean; who wouldn’t want to read a book about middle age personal injury lawyer Brian Goldfinger cracking the case on a delivery gone bad? Sound exciting enough; right?!?!?

Let me share a story with you. During the early stage of the Pandemic, my law firm, Goldfinger Injury Lawyers moved from a large office building at 45 Sheppard Ave East in Toronto; to a self contained unit at 167 Sheppard Avenue West, also in Toronto. The move was under a kilometer in distance, but it was still a hard move.

The rationale for the move was quite simple. At the large office building all of our staff and visiting clients had to pay for parking; and parking was quite limited. More importantly, we weren’t too keen during the pandemic to sharing space with strangers. We had to share the elevators, share the bathrooms, share the boardrooms, hallways, reception area, lobby and hallways with the other tenants on our floor. It wasn’t ideal during a global pandemic. Mind you this was pre-vaccines and also when we believed that COVID was not only airborne, but could also be spread on surfaces.

Needless to say, my staff nor my clients were thrilled by the idea of sharing space or common areas with others. The fewer exposures, the better.

So we decided to move down the street.

The new office gave our clients and staff free parking. We no longer had to share any common areas such as washrooms, boardrooms, elevators, hallways, reception area etc. We had to space all to ourselves. It was much more comfortable, and safe from a COVID perspective (keep in mind this is early on in the Pandemic before vaccines were readily available).

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Last week, the Supreme Court of Canada released a decision which upheld key protections for sexual assault victims. The decision is R. v. J. J.

In the wake of the Me Too Revolution, Canadian parliament changed the Criminal Code to establish more protections for sexual assault victims.

Let’s say an accused has text messages, or emails, or some other form of communication directly from the complainant. Those messages may impact the dignity of the complainant. Instead of simply being used at trial in their defence, an accused must disclose these records and a pretrial must be held in order to determine what records, can, or cannot be used at trial. It’s entirely in the Judge’s hands. If the Judge determines that the records are not relevant and will hurt the complainant’s dignity, they cannot be used.

The second major change was to give the complainants the right to argue at a hearing (outside of the course of the trial) that their privacy outweighs the importance of the records. Again, it’s up to a Judge to make the final determination of the privacy rights of the complainant outweigh the rights to a defendant using all evidence at his/her disposal in order to defend the charges.

This is a very difficult balancing act. The rights, dignity and privacy of the complainant are important. A complainant should not be humiliated on the stand or hurt twice as a result of stepping forward and testifying at trial. Complainants should not be intimidated to step forward and have their voices heard. I think we can all agree with that.

At the same time, a Defendant has the right to a fair defence. If an accused cannot use all of the evidentiary tools at his/her disposal in order to combat the charges, then are we giving that Defendant a fair and meaningful opportunity to a defense a trial. Or are we just giving them a perceived fair shake while limiting the tools at their disposal?

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Sounds like a typical law school fact pattern for a tort case.

A property owner retains an arborist to do a routine pruning job on a set of Norwich Maple Trees in his yard.

The arborist advertises that he is both “licensed” and insured.

Upon attending at the job site, the arborist begins to unload his equipment from his van. It includes all of the normal stuff which any arborist would carry: spikes for climbing trees, ropes, counter weights, pylons and chain saws etc. But is also includes something which you shouldn’t find on any job site; an open container of alcohol; in this case a tall boy of beer.

Having an open can of beer may not seem like a big deal. The general labourers there to help the arborist tell the property owner that having a beer on the job site isn’t a problem; and that they do it all the time. They tell the property owner that this is just the way that the licensed arborist works. He needs beer to concentrate and do his job. They are trying to pass this off like it’s all normal.

The notion that a man climbing 20+ feet in the air; with a large gas powered chainsaw; needs to be fueled by alcohol isn’t normal whatsoever.

Yet, this is what the arborist and his friends tried to convey to the property owner.

In case you are wondering, that property owner was me. And I’m a personal injury lawyer. And I wasn’t having anything of it.

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Warmer weather means more people out and about. We see more people out for walks both with and without dogs.

Some dog owners are very responsible. They curb their dog, keep them on a leash and keep the under control. Some dog owners are not. But even the most responsible dog owner may run in to a situation whereby their dog losses control.

What happens when a dog attacks someone? How does one go about making a claim for damages.

It goes without saying that you cannot sue the dog itself. But you can sue the dog owner and claim damages against him/her.

It helps if the dog owner has asset or home owners or renter’s insurance.

A dead beat dog owner without any assets and without any form of insurance will result in an fruitless case. That’s not to say that a Plaintiff won’t “win” the case. In fact, there is a very strong likelihood on a dog bite or dog attack case that the Plaintiff will “win“; and a Court will order that the Defendant dog owner pay damages.

But the Judgment will be an empty one. A Plaintiff cannot recover blood from a stone in the event that the Defendant is without any assets, and without any insurance coverage. A Judgment-Debtor Examination may reveal that the Defendant Dog Owner owns no property, no vehicles, has no money in the bank, and is currently on ODSP or Ontario Works (both of which cannot be garnished).

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There is a black eye on Canada’s Military; and it’s not due to lack of funding or purchase orders of military helicopters or planes gone bad.

In a Government Census, approximately 25% of women serving in the Canadian Military reported being sexually assaulted during their military careers.

Pause and think about that stat long and hard.

Nearly 1 out of every 4 women serving in Canada’s military has been sexually assaulted in their military career.

That statistic is mind blowing! Any other industry would be completely shut down if that’s how women are treated in the workplace. You would have police, government officials and activist groups swarming the employer to the point they would not be able to function. It would be a business and PR nightmare. In the age of cancel culture; this employer would be ruined beyond the point of no return.

But what happens when that delinquent workplace is a public institution; like the Canadian Military?

We can’t stop shopping or boycott the Canadian military.

I suppose that people can withdraw for service, or simply not enlist to serve in the Canadian Military because the work environment appears to be less than optimal; particularly for women. There are other noble ways to serve and to protect one’s country. But the Canadian Military needs people so so many things. The Canadian armed forces does not run on robots or cheap migrant labour. How does the Canadian Military attract Canadians to enlist and serve the country with such bad PR? More importantly, how does the Canadian Military attract women to fill the ranks?

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There is a whit van parked outside of your home. Perhaps it’s at the end of the street. You’ve seen it parked there all week and a few men in it. When you leave the home,  the very same van is following you. You tell your partner that you have a feeling that someone is following you. Your partner tells you to relax and that it’s probably nothing. Your told that you’re being paranoid because you’ve been under a lot of stress and in pain lately. But something is fishy about this van.

You’re not wrong to have these feelings. Sometimes (not all of the time), your feelings of paranoia are justified because someone is in fact spying on you. As creepy as it sounds, it’s true. And worst of all, it’s completely legal.

If you have been hurt or injured in an accident; or have a disability claim against a private insurer (STD, LTD, Mortgage Insurance); there is a good chance that the insurance company you are fighting is doubting the legitimacy of your case. They doubt the authenticity of your claim, the severity of your injuries and they question your credibility. When this sort of thing happens (which is often), an insurance company will use one of its many tools to defeat your case.

One of the most effective tools is in person surveillance. This means that an insurance company will hire a team of private investigators to camp out outside of your home, and follow you around. They may even try to take images of you in your yard or inside of your home. Super creepy.

Some insurers would rather spend tens of thousands of dollars on investigators, medico legal experts and on lawyers fees rather than pay you a single shiny nickel.

What the insurance company is trying the establish is that you are a liar, a cheater, a faker and a fraudster. If they can establish any of the above; they feel confident that they will be able to defeat your claim. In order to do this, the insurer will attempt to create a narrative which they hope a Judge and Jury will buy. They want to establish that at Plaintiff is not trustworthy and is faking their injuries. One of the most effective ways of doing this is by playing movies at trial of the Plaintiff doing things which s/he said that s/he could not do; or which s/he should not have been doing. If they surveillance shows the Plaintiff having no mobility issues, leading what seems to be a normal, care free and pain free life; then a Judge and Jury won’t think that the Plaintiff is injured or disabled. This will take all of the teeth out of the Plaintiff’s case and leave the Defendant in a good position.

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My articling principal was called to the Bar in 1978. For the first decade or so of his practice, he was in Court nearly every day. He was in Court for motions, pre-trials and trials. Because he was in Court so often, it was absolutely necessary that his office be downtown so that he could be close to the Courthouse. The Courthouse was an extension of his office.

I want to be clear that my articling principal managed a very successful civil litigation law firm; and did not have a criminal law practice.  Criminal lawyers are in Court far more often than their civil litigation counterparts. In 2022, civil litigation lawyers are not in Court everyday. But, they used to be.

Trials back then could be as short as a half day, or as long as 2-3 days. Running a week long trial (5 days) was seen as a ultra marathon! Accessibility to the Courts existed! You would not have to wait years and years for a Pre-Trial or for a Trial date. You could call the Court and get a motion date and have your motion heard by a Judge in a very reasonable period of time.

The Court was there to serve the important public function of the administration of justice. Court staff could afford to take the time to get on the phone (or even speak to you person!) with lawyers  about what to do if documents weren’t accepted by the Court and what needed to be done so that the materials would get accepted.

The lawyers knew the name of the Court staff and vice versa. It was an amicable and symbiotic relationship. Both sides needed each other to make the system work so that justice would flow efficiently.

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The heading of this edition of the Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog “Hitting a Deer or a Moose with your car” may seem like some sort of joke, or click bait; but I can assure you; it’s not.

Hitting a deer or a moose with your car is very real; hence the signage you may see on highways for “Deer or Moose Crossing”. The Minister of Transportation knows of it’s danger, and so should you.

In all of my years of practicing personal injury law, I’ve never handled a case where someone struck a deer or a moose in an urban/city setting. These cases happen in rural, forest and remote settings. And while the chances of striking a deer or a moose with your car may seem awfully remote; and perhaps laughable; these cases are nothing to joke about.

Some of the most serious injuries I’ve seen have resulted from collisions with a deer or a moose. No joke.

Why is that?

For starters, these sort of cases take place on highways or rural roads. The vehicles which hits the moose or deer is generally travelling at a high rate of speed. The faster you’re travelling, the greater the impact and the greater the chance for catastrophic injury.

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