Thursday, 21 February 2013

The Appeal of the Appeal

Our lawsuit against our landlord is finally and completely over. We actually won our lawsuit over a year ago when the courts judged that our landlord had no evidence for his counterclaim and thus no counterclaim. The judge allowed us to strike his counterclaim which meant we won.

However, our landlord appealed that decision which found us back in court last summer. I went to this court date and it was a nail biter for me. Justice Leach heard out both sides and asked a lot of questions. One important point in all of this is that our landlord had been ordered to pay some legal costs to us, but he didnt. Did he think he was above the law and the court system? Justice Leach took all the materials away and wrote a highly unusual response for an appeal -- 33 pages that effectively examined and dismissed every part of our landlord's stance. He even stated that our landlord has been "less than candid with the court." Although this is an understatement for us, there must be exceptionally strong evidence for a judge to make such a comment. Clearly Justice Leach wanted a decision that was comprehensive and appeal-proof.

Well to our shock, our landlord submitted an appeal of this appeal. Yup. He still had not submitted the evidence of his counterclaim. He still had not paid all his court ordered costs. Nonetheless, he wanted to appeal Justice Leach's 33 page decision. We were informed that our landlord got a "Toronto lawyer" for this appeal, perhaps as an attempt to intimidate us? I guess he forgot that we were from Toronto. In the meantime, perhaps to really intimidate us, our landlord assaulted Glenn outside our shop. He never got a clear hit on Glenn but we caught it all on our security cameras and he now has criminal charges pending.

Fast forward to this past Tuesday in Toronto. At the Appeals Court of Ontario there is a panel of 3 judges and they sit on high, literally above the small gallery area. What they say is law right then and there. Now this was intimidating. Our lawyer warned us that even though it would be an "uphill battle" for our landlord to win an appeal, we would be peppered with very hard questions from this stern panel of judges. Our landlord's lawyer went first and had an hour to make his argument that Justice Leach was wrong and should be overturned. His argument was not very compelling yet the panel of judges did not ask any questions! What could this mean? Were they buying his weak presentation? The landlord's lawyer rambled on to the end of his hour and then the middle judge cleared his throat: "Your client has lied to the courts, has failed to fulfill his obligations, and has failed to pay his court ordered costs, what do you make of that?" The landlord's lawyer started his response with, " I admit that my client is an unsavory character..."

Well Glenn and I could have jumped for joy. Finally a clear picture of the person we've struggled against was  being painted by the judges right there in the courtroom. But we werent off the hook yet. We still had an hour to present our side of the story and perhaps we too would fall short. However, in between presentations, the panel of judges take a break to confer in the back chamber. Our lawyer told us that this usually took 5-10 minutes. Forty five minutes later the judges returned. I think we were all biting our nails by this point. They came in and sat down. "Ms Quick," said the first judge to our lawyer, "we dont have to hear from you." Those are magical words rarely heard in a Court of Appeal of Ontario. It meant that not only did our landlord lose, but he lost completely and utterly on his own failings without us having to say a word.

Court costs for this level of appeal are dealt with right there and then in the courtroom and our lawyer was asked to submit those costs. "Including today," said our lawyer, "about $9,000." The landlord's lawyer was asked to comment on that estimate to which he said, "she didnt even have to present, so $5,000 at most." Perhaps he should have contemplated why she didnt have to present. "$5,000 is fair," replied the judge, "and $9,000 is fair. $9,000." Wow. 100% of our court costs. Glenn and I sailed out of there with our heads swirling with all the rare and unlikely decisions that went our way during that extraordinary hearing in beautiful  and historic Osgoode Hall.

What is next for us in this case? Well, our landlord is now thoroughly defeated and out of the picture. We are clear to proceed to the final settlement of our claim, which is where the compensation for our struggle and injuries is determined. We have an independent assessor putting that material together for us to ensure that it is well backed up and fair. You might wonder why we are concerned with fairness for a man who so clearly has not been fair, but our win has been all the sweeter because we have always been fair. We've never been interested in retribution -- it creates too much negative energy and it is spirit killing. Besides, our landlord is his own worst enemy as shown in that appeals courtroom. No one could exercise retribution against him that is worse than what he does to himself with his lies and avoidance of legal/ethical obligations.


  1. WOW!!! Congratulations, Linda and Glenn! The judges could have added that the landlord wasted their time, his time, and everybody else's time, as well... Rory

  2. OMG - the time wasted on this man! I would hate to add up the hours. I wonder if thats why the panel of judges jumped to the conclusion without hearing our presentation -- No more wasted time on this man!!