Margaret L. Waddell
is a senior partner at Paliare Roland Rosenberg Rothstein LLP in Toronto. She has a varied advocacy practice including a broad range of complex commercial and shareholder litigation, professional liability cases, class actions and appellate advocacy. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Column: Trials & Tribulations
Column: Trials & Tribulations
Monday, 13 May 2013 08:47
I’m sure there is nothing that warms the bottom of the heart of class action defendants more than seeing a mass exodus of potential class members from the proceeding following certification. Fewer class members mean reduced exposure to the payment of damages. And if enough people opt out, it could effectively render the class proceeding economically unviable from the perspective of class counsel. That, in turn, could lead to an early and lower settlement, or in an extreme case, a discontinuance of the proceeding or successful motion to decertify.
Monday, 08 April 2013 10:09
On April 4, the Federal Court of Canada approved the massive settlement of a class action in Manuge v. Canada, brought on behalf of disabled veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces. Since June 1976, the Federal Government had been deducting Pension Act disability payments from the amounts payable to veterans under their Service Income Security Insurance Plan LTD benefit plan. The loss of this income had a devastating effect on some class members of limited means and resulted in a substantial hardship to others.
Monday, 11 March 2013 08:41
Two of the most prominent examples of women who have made it to the top of the corporate ladder have been getting a lot of press and stirring up much debate over the last few weeks: Sheryl Sandberg at Facebook and Marissa Mayer of Yahoo. The waves they have caused are crashing on the shores of traditionalist thinking.
Monday, 11 February 2013 10:16
Monday, 14 January 2013 08:00
I like to consider myself as being a reasonably competent lawyer. Occasionally — OK rarely — I do receive some form of external and objective validation of that fancy. But over the Winter Solstice holiday, I received an external and objective confirmation that I suck at being a boss. In fairness to me, Good Boss 101 is not a course offered at law school or during the bar admission course when I was a student. It should be.
Monday, 10 December 2012 08:00
In June 2012, the first modern trial decision meant to address the mysterious question — what exactly is waiver of tort, and do I want one? — was released. After a grueling 138-day trial, unwinding over the course of a little over a year, Justice Joan Lax delivered an equally exhausting 260-page judgment — complete with indexes, footnotes, glossary of medical terms, and schedules — in the case of Andersen v. St. Jude Medical, Inc.
Monday, 05 November 2012 10:10
Class actions serve the important social purposes of deterring the wrongful conduct of big business, and ensuring that when the “little guy” is harmed, the wrongdoer does not profit. In many class proceedings, the focus is on this latter concept — preventing the unjust enrichment of the defendant — and compensating the injured class members is secondary because on an individual basis the claims are not viable.
Monday, 08 October 2012 08:00
An article entitled “Alberta judge fights to take back the legal system” in The Globe and Mail drew my attention to a powerful decision from Alberta’s Associate Chief Justice J.D. Rooke issued in late September. In Meads v. Meads, Rooke pointed his gavel squarely at the elephant in the courtroom and called it for what it is. What followed were detailed and pointed reasons for decision in plain language, in which he identified the pervasive problem of self-represented litigants who follow a prepared modus operandi to disrupt the court system.
Monday, 10 September 2012 08:00
Monday, 13 August 2012 08:00
Class actions are meant to achieve access to justice — an amorphous idea subject to as many interpretations as there are participants in the justice system. Access to justice should include not only the ability to seek and retain qualified and competent legal counsel and the ability to have one’s case heard by an independent and impartial judiciary; it should also mean the ability to have a complaint prosecuted and tried within a reasonable period of time. Unfortunately, there seem to be an unlimited number of obstacles to litigants obtaining access to a judicial determination of their cases in a reasonably timely manner, and those obstacles are compounded in the class action setting.