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Category Archive: Cases

Love It Or List It Sued for Shoddy Work

A couple in North Carolina is suing the popular real estate and home renovation show Love It Or List It that airs on both HGTV and the W Network in Canada.

The plaintiffs, Deena Murphy and Timothy Sullivan, are suing for a number of reasons: shoddy work, breach of contract, unfair trade practices in violation of North Carolina’s general contractor laws, and a “bizarre business model that creates an inherent conflict of interest”.

If you haven’t seen the show, couples sign on to have their homes renovated to fix problem areas. They are also shown a number of homes on the market based on what they want in a dream home, so they can decide whether to love or list their existing home at the end of the program.

Murphy and Sullivan contacted the show after seeing an ad for it. They wanted to renovate and move into a rental property, but ended up filing a lawsuit against the production company (Big Coat TV) and the North Carolina contractor they used (Aaron Fitz Construction) after seeing the completed renovation.

They allege that the TV program did not use a licensed architect to develop renovation plans, that they were never shown houses on the market by a licensed North Carolina real estate agent that had the ability to broker the sale, and were left with “disastrous work done by Big Coat and its subcontractors”. They also state that the home was “irreparably damaged” because of holes left in the floor, industrial carpeting, windows painted shut, and other unpainted surfaces.

The suit also exposes how little “reality” actually occurs in reality TV shows. The show is apparently scripted with the TV personalities and couples on the show expected to play a certain role in the episode.

Learn more about the allegations and the lawsuit on Journal Now.

Featured image source: Epilepsy Halton peel Hamilton Blog

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Quicklaw Full Service Shows Canada’s Evolution on Assisted Dying

Nearly two decades after Sue Rodriguez first appealed to the Supreme Court to help end her life, it looks like Canada’s legal landscape is on the verge of drastically changing with respect to its assisted dying laws. But just how drastic the new laws would be is up for debate.

While the Liberal’s new bill would allow for physician-assisted dying in Canada, it contains a set of specific criteria that must be met for those turning to doctors to help end their lives.

The proposed legislated, which was tabled in Parliament last week, would only pertain to adults over 18 years of age, who are mentally competent and suffer from a serious and incurable illness. These adults must be experiencing intolerable suffering as a result of “an advanced state of irreversible decline in capacity.”

Crucially, only those whose “natural death has become reasonably foreseeable” would fall under the bill’s set of criteria — yet the bill does not specify or propose any timeline that would constitute as “reasonably foreseeable.”

But that’s not all: the bill stipulates that a person must-go-through a 15-day period of reflection and consent before they can end their life. Two witnesses with no financial interest to the patient, as well as two doctors or nurses would also be required to evaluate the patient’s request.

Many physicians applaud the bill for approaching assisted dying with caution and including measures that help protect the vulnerable, while some are criticizing the bill for not going far enough. Needless to say, it is clear that years from now, lawyers will look back on this moment as a major breakthrough for right-to-die advocates.

Lexis Nexis Quicklaw Full Service provides lawyers with the tools they need to engage in comprehensive legal research. Quicklaw Full Service allows for lawyers to study past court decisions, legislation, a wide range of primary and secondary materials, and much more. Lawyers can see for themselves just how much the country’s legal landscape has changed: with full-text court and tribunal decisions dating back nearly two centuries, Quicklaw users can study what cases in particular provided Canadians with new legal rights, and helped shift the way we think about moral and legal issues. In addition, Quicklaw offers a breadth of commentary and legal analysis on recent cases in the news, so lawyers can see how, for example, the vague wording in the Liberal’s assisted dying bill can lead to legal loopholes.

For more on the Liberals’ assisted-dying bill, visit The Globe and Mail.

Featured image source: LexisNexis

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Legal Battle Between Federal Government And Mothers Denied Sick Benefits Continues

Now that the Liberal Party has taken office in our country, there are plenty of reasons to be hopeful and optimistic about the future of Canada. But there are still some remnants from the dark ages of Stephen Harper left hanging that need to be dealt with right away. Case in point – the fact that there is still an ongoing legal battle between the federal government and a group of mothers who were denied their sickness benefits while on maternity leave.

Jennifer McCrea (shown above) is a mother from Calgary who was diagnosed with breast cancer while on maternity leave with her eight-month-old son. She underwent a double mastectomy but then found out that she wasn’t going to get the benefits she was legally entitled to. After realizing that scores of other people had been denied these same benefits (a whopping 3,177 according to the claim), McCrea filed a class-action lawsuit against the government.

Now instead of just admitting wrong and paying out the benefits, the federal government decided to fight it, resulting in a legal battle that has gone on for four years now and seems to have no end in sight. When Trudeau came into office last year, it seemed to be a boon for McCrea and the others, especially since the Liberals stated that they would “immediately end” the legal shenanigans once they came into power. Yet five months in and it is still ongoing.

The saddest thing about all of this is that new figures were just released that showed the government has so far spent over $2.2 million in legal fees on this case, money that could have easily gone to all of the people who were denied it in the first place.

“I would tell you what the good reason is to pursue this kind of fight vigorously,” said Stephen Moreau, McCrea’s lawyer, “but I actually can’t for the life of me understand it.”

Me neither.

Source: CTV

Image source: Toronto Star

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First woman allowed to die with doctors help outside Quebec

Last week, a Calgary woman with a terminal illness ended her life in Vancouver, BC with the help of two doctors.

In Canada, it is still illegal for a doctor to help a patient end their life, but two recent Supreme Court rulings allow certain exemptions to be made. Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Sheilah Martin had granted the woman a legal exemption for doctor-assisted death, and as of right now, it is believed she is the first person in Canada — outside of Quebec — who has turned to a physician to legally end her life. Unlike the rest of Canada, Quebec has its own assisted-dying laws, which came into effect in December.

The woman, who is referred to in legal documents as Ms. S, suffered from ALS and was described as being in constant pain. Almost entirely paralyzed, she had been told that her disease gave her around six months to live.

The judge ruled that she met the criteria that constitute an exemption, as she suffers from a medical condition that causes “intolerable suffering” and “can’t be alleviated.” In addition, the judge found Ms. S to be a “competent adult” that clearly “consents to the termination of life.”

In years to come, when more rulings are passed on assisted dying and the country’s legal landscape continues to change , many lawyers will undoubtedly want to look back on early cases — particularly of the first person to be allowed an exemption and die legally with the assistance of the doctor.

LexisNexis Quicklaw Full Service gives lawyers the tools they need to conduct comprehensive legal research, and view past court decisions such as that of Ms. S. With this professional and complete legal research service, lawyers can comb through crucial primary and secondary materials, and read past court decisions, legislation, legal commentary, and more. For those looking to get an even broader picture of the history of the country’s changing laws, this research service also provides full-text court and tribunal decisions dating back to the 1800s.

To read more about Ms. S, visit CBC News.

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US Judge Orders Apple to Break into Mass Shooter’s iPhone

This week, U.S. Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym ordered that Apple must help the federal government gain access into the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino mass shooters — and Apple has not responded kindly.

In an open letter published on their website on February 16th, Apple CEO Tim Cook warns that the US government’s order presents a slippery slope that would ultimately threaten its customers’ trust in the company.

In the letter, Cook questions the moral and legal implications of Pym’s ruling. He argues that Apple’s customers use their iPhones to store personal information, which “needs to be protected from hackers and criminals who want to access it, steal it, and use it without our knowledge or permission. Customers expect Apple and other technology companies to do everything in our power to protect their personal information, and at Apple we are deeply committed to safeguarding their data.”

Pym had ruled that Apple must assist the FBI in breaking into Syed Farook’s encrypted iPhone, since his passcode remains unknown. But Apple is clearly reluctant to comply with the order, and their scathing open letter aims to start a public discussion about the relationship between personal privacy and national security — and whether the former must be compromised to achieve the latter.

While Pym’s order stipulates that Apple’s software needs to only unlock Farook’s iPhone, Apple has suggested that their software could potentially be used by the government to intrude on more customers’ privacy in future cases. Cook also noted that no software of this kind currently exists today.

Pym’s ruling also requires Apple to tell the court if it considers the order to be unreasonably burdensome. With the release of Apple’s letter, it remains to be seen if the public at large will consider Pym’s order to be a reasonable request to safeguard national security, or one that presents worrisome future implications for customers’ personal information.

For more on this story, visit CBC News.

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First patient dies under Quebec’s new death with dignity laws

death with dignity laws

This month, a patient died with the assistance of a physician in Quebec City — marking the first time a Canadian has exercised their legal right to die with dignity.

Quebec’s law that allows for assisted dying came into effect on December 10th of last year. While this is the first publicly-known circumstance of a patient dying with the aid of a doctor in the province, it remains unclear whether or not there are more cases: Quebec health agencies aren’t obligated to report them, given patient confidentiality. However, a report on all cases is set to be prepared by a parliamentary committee for the Quebec National Assembly this fall.

In December, Quebec became the first Canadian province where terminally ill patients were granted the legal right to die with the assistance of a doctor. The law came about when a Quebec Court of Appeal panel with three judges overturned the previous Quebec Superior Court ruling, which stipulated that the province couldn’t allow for its dying with dignity law to come into effect, until the Criminal Code changed some of its provisions.

The Court of Appeal also encouraged the implementation of assisted dying laws at the federal level, rather than just the provincial. While the federal government had requested six more months to draft new assisted dying laws, this month, the Supreme Court of Canada allowed the federal government to have only a four-month extension. The court also ruled that Quebec’s right-to-die laws can continue to be implemented. Now, it remains to be seen whether more provinces will follow Quebec’s lead, and right-to-die advocates hold on to hope that the country as a whole will adopt similar legislation.

For more on this story, visit CBC News.

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Canadian Courts Threaten Action Against Federal Government

Following the federal government’s decision to force courts to go through Shared Services Canada for all their IT purchases which could compromise independence, the Supreme Court is readying itself to take on the government in a legal battle.

The Supreme Court could also be joined by the Federal Court, the Federal Court of Appeal, Court Martial Appeal Court and Tax Court in the constitutional challenge that could see purchases of servers, routers and legal software all vetted by the federal government.

The courts all had autonomy when it came to these kinds of purchases until September 1, when the rule was implemented and the courts became a client of the government’s IT department, Shared Services Canada. This department’s main focus is overseeing purchasing and digital services of the top 43 IT-consumers in the government.

The Conservative government approved this change in May of last year, with the intent of saving money, because Shared Services can purchase in bulk, and also to increase security, because the department also makes an extra effort to purchase from safe suppliers only.

But after Prime Minister Trudeau took office, he raised concerns that this kind of government involvement in the court would infringe on their independence. He was also warned by the courts that if the cabinet decision is not reversed, they will take legal action. Now, Trudeau’s government must decide what they will do with the implemented IT control, and how they will quell the concerns of the most powerful court in the country.

Featured image source: ctvnews.ca

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Uber Passengers Consider Filing Lawsuit After New Year’s Eve Surge In Pricing

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Uber has been in the news quite a bit over the last year, but the revolutionary ride-share company has generally been on the favourable side of things, while cab companies and drivers have been looking pretty foolish. On New Year’s Eve, however, Uber was the one that left customers feeling angered and confused.

Several Montreal area customers who were charged super-high rates for their rides that holiday evening are getting together to potentially launch a lawsuit to get some money back. If you’ve used the service then you’re well aware that surge in pricing is a pretty common practice that comes into effect during high-volume periods where normal prices are multiplied because of the demand. Obviously, New Year’s Eve would certainly qualify as one of those times, but some customers reported surge increases of up to 7.5 times the normal rate, which is pretty insane.

Usually, the passenger is informed about the pricing before accepting the ride, but customers were apparently kept in the dark about just how high it was going to be. Catherine Papillon, who is spearheading the attempt to launch a class action suit, paid $97 for her ride home when she was under the impression it would be $36. Even that was on the low end of things. Another passenger, Cassandra Zakaib, paid $320 while two others faced a bill of $630. Even more customers online complained about charges north of $1,000, which is frankly unheard of for any sort of citywide transportation.

Whether Papillon’s lawsuit will actually get off the ground remains to be seen, but this incident could definitely add fuel to the fire in the war between Uber and cab companies.

Source: CTV News

Image source: Edmonton Journal

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Canada Could Lose The Ability To Control The Cost of Patented Drugs

Currently, Canada holds the right to control the price of patented drugs. But that could all change now that the American company Alexion Pharmaceuticals has filed a lawsuit in Federal Court against the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board.

After the Board called the cost of the company’s Soliris drug “excessive,” Alexion argued that the federal board’s lowering of the price infringes on provincial jurisdiction.

Reports say that Soliris costs between $500,000 and $700,000 per year, per patient. The drug is the most expensive treatment in the world for two rare, life-threatening blood and genetic disorders.

According to legal experts, Alexion’s goal is for Canada to implement a system of pricing drugs similar to that used in the United States — who has the most expensive drug-pricing system in the world. U.S. and Chile are the only OECD countries that do not control the price of drugs.

In its lawsuit, Alexion claimed the price of Soliris has actually remained the same since it was introduced in Canada in 2009. The company also claimed that the price has not decreased in countries other than Canada either.

According to Alexion, the board alleged the drug’s pricing was excessive between 2012 and 2014 because the value of the Canadian dollar has been in flux.

Soloris made $2.2 billion in U.S. dollars in revenue last year – an increase of 44 per cent from 2013.

The stakes of this case are incredibly high: if Alexion proves to be successful in court, the Canadian government could lose its ability to stabilize the cost of patented drugs.

For more on this story, visit The Globe and Mail.

Featured image source: CBC

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Man Charged With Terrorism Fights For Citizenship

An Ottawa man who is currently serving time is appealing to the courts to stop the federal government from revoking his Canadian citizenship. Misbahuddin Ahmed has stated to the Federal Court of Canada that the government is working on unconstitutional grounds to take away his citizenship. He is calling the government’s actions cruel and unusual, and a violation of justice.

Ahmed is the latest in a string of people who have challenged the new law that gives the government the power to revoke citizenship from someone convicted of terrorism, treason or espionage, provided that they can claim citizenship in another country.

Ahmed, who is a former hospital technician, received a 12-year sentence last year after he was found guilty of both facilitating and participating in terrorist activity. He is serving that sentence at Warkworth Institution in Campbellford, Ont. He was born in Pakistan, but became a permanent Canadian resident at age 14, and then a Canadian citizen seven years later.

This past July, the government notified Ahmed that they were going to revoke his citizenship, because he fell under the new criteria. So far, the government has stripped one man convicted in Toronto of his citizenship.

Ahmed’s application to appeal the law states that it violates the principle that someone can not be punished for the same crime twice. And, as his lawyer Lorne Waldman points out, he is already serving a long sentence.

Waldman is also involved in another challenge of the new law involving the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers, the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, and another convicted man, Asad Ansari. That case will be heard before Ahmed’s, which will be put on hold because, according to Waldman, they are the same constitutional arguments.

Featured image source: nationalpostcom.files.wordpress

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