Man’s appeal of vexatious litigant finding dismissed

The Ontario Court of Appeal has awarded substantial indemnity costs in ruling against a man who challenged a judge’s finding that he was a vexatious litigant in relation to lawsuits he has launched against several lawyers and law firms over the years.

“In our view, the respondents on appeal are entitled to substantial indemnity costs,” wrote Justice John Laskin in today’s ruling in Teplitsky Colson LLP v. Malamas that ordered appellant William Malamas to pay $63,861 in costs.

“Mr. Malamas has persisted in his groundless allegations of fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, and other nefarious conduct by these parties. The nature of his allegations justifies substantial indemnity costs.”

In an article today, Law Times reported on the long-standing litigation launched by Malamas over a dispute related to a Danforth Avenue property in Toronto he was the landlord of. The property had the National Bank of Greece as its tenant.In his developer days, Malamas got into a dispute with the occupant bank and sued it for rent arrears and damages for breach of the lease.In the coming years, he sued virtually all of the lawyers who represented him in that litigation and other cases he came to be involved in. According to court documents, Malamas argues the lawyers “developed an attitude of increasing malice” toward him during their representation of him.

The law firms named in various lawsuits over the years, some of which no longer exist, include McCarthy Tétrault LLP, Toome Laar & Bell, Raphael Professional Corp., Goodman and Carr LLP, Gardiner Roberts LLP, and Hodder Solicitors, according to a ruling last year in Teplitsky Colson LLP v. William Malamas.

The June 2012 court decision that declared Malamas a vexatious litigant notes he sued a total of 16 lawyers over a span of six years. That number doesn’t include the lawyers who were once the owners of a building adjacent to his Danforth Avenue property.

Last week, Malamas went to the appeal court to challenge the vexatious litigant finding. Among other things, he argued that William O’Hara, counsel for Teplitsky Colson, didn’t have instructions from all 26 parties, which included corporations, to write the affidavit. But in today’s decision, the appeal court rejected that ground. “To save time and expense, the other applicants agreed that he could represent them as their agent and make submissions on their behalf,” Laskin wrote of O’Hara.

“They also agreed that a single omnibus application would be brought on behalf of all the applicants. The application judge recognized that this was a sensible course of action. In his procedural order No. 7, he confirmed that the application was brought with his prior approval.”

Malamas also argued Superior Court Justice Frank Newbould didn’t have authority to conduct the vexatious litigant application; there were inconsistencies in his reasons; and there was no admissible affidavit evidence in support of the application. The appeal court rejected all of those grounds as well.

Malamas’ long saga dates back to the 1980s. He says he has spent more than $1 million in legal costs and argues the system has failed him. While he suggests lawyers are abusing the court process, Ray Thapar, counsel for the parties that brought the vexatious litigant application, notes he first started doing work on the case as an articling student 13 years ago. He describes the long-standing case as being the result of “an overwhelming obsession with conspiracy."

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