Vexatious litigant law grad ordered to pay costs

The Ontario Divisional Court has dismissed three applications for judicial review from a University of Windsor law graduate and ordered her to pay costs of $17,500 for matters that began over a decade ago.

Dating back to April 2005, Anica Visic had filed multiple human rights complaints against the University of Windsor, two of her former articling principals, and the Law Society of Upper Canada.

Last Thursday, the Divisional Court heard and dismissed three applications for judicial review in which Visic sought to set aside decisions of the Human Rights Tribunal including Visic v. HRTO and Elia Associates P.C., Visic v. HRTO and University of Windsor, and Visic v. HRTO and Law Society of Upper Canada.

Visic had previously been declared a vexatious litigant in 2012 after her fourth failed attempt to take action against the University of Windsor for including her failed first year of law school on her official transcript.

Visic made her first complaint against the university after she failed her first year of law school in 2000 due to a medical condition. She suffered from myofascial pain syndrome, which causes shoulder, arm, neck, and upper-body muscle spasms, and limited her ability to write for extended periods of time. However, she did not identify herself as having a disability. Visic was readmitted to law school on medical grounds in 2002 and graduated in 2005.

Despite her repeated efforts, the university would not remove her failed first-year marks from her transcript. Visic argued this was discrimination as she would be forced to reveal her past disability to employers requesting her transcript.

Her complaint was ultimately rejected along with a similar complaint against the university, which was dismissed by the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario in 2010.

In July 2007, Visic started articling for Elia Associates P.C. and when her articling principal Patricia Elia found out about her dispute with the University of Windsor, she requested a full transcript. On Nov. 28, 2007, Elia Associates gave Visic written notice of dismissal effective Dec. 14, 2007.

Visic claimed that violated her human rights because she was forced to reveal her disability and therefore her termination from the firm was discriminatory.

In June 2011, the HRTO dismissed all of Visic’s allegations against the law firm. Elia said the litigation process cost the firm nearly $100,000.

In Visic v. Elia Associates P.C., Visic was ordered Dec. 10 to pay Elia Associates $10,000 in costs.

“In these circumstances, it is neither fair nor reasonable that Ms. Visic should not pay costs to Elia and Associates for this proceeding. The only real issue is whether those costs should be on a substantial indemnity basis. I have not found Ms. Visic to be impecunious. However, her financial liability as a result of these many unsuccessful legal proceedings will be considerable, and I do accept that she is a person of limited financial means.”

In the case against the HRTO and University of Windsor, the adjudicator had dismissed Visic’s complaint of discrimination against the university because she had also commenced a civil action against the school about the same matter and based on the fact her complaint was filed more than a year after the incident the complaint related to.

In Visic v. HRTO and University of Windsor the court ordered costs to the university of $7,500. The university had requested costs on a substantial indemnity of $13,000.

Writing for the panel, Justice Anne Malloy stated:

“I do not doubt that Ms. Visic honestly believes in the righteousness of her cause. What she fails to understand is that just because she believes herself to be right, does not mean she actually is right. Her persistent efforts to pursue the University on this issue, despite numerous rulings against her, are simply not reasonable. I see no basis from excusing her from the normal rule that the costs follow the event. She has been completely unsuccessful and is liable to the University for costs.

In Visic v. HRTO and Law Society of Upper Canada the LSUC and HRTO did not seek costs.

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