Donald Best was the client of the appellant, a Toronto lawyer, Paul Slanksy who was ordered to pay $84,000 in costs awarded against client. The lawyer had been sued personally for unreasonable straining the judicial system.
The Case against the lawyer for Frivolous and vexatious legal process, as abused by his refusal to cooperate with opposing counsel.
The Argument made for personally holding him accountable for costs (such as legal fees) was “you personally have caused these costs to be incurred without any reasonable cause by either acquiescing to absolutely unreasonable instructions from your client, or worse by advising your client to take the unreasonable steps he has taken through you. Either way, you will be personally liable for these costs.”
Abuse 1: Mr. Slanksy was used as a conduit for Mr. Best’s repeated allegations of serious misconduct of the opposing counsel, when requesting through a motion to remove the opposing counsel of record. Slanksy was not punished for this motion, but Best was ordered to pay costs on a full indemnity scale.
Abuse 2*: The oppsong counsel had informed Slansky that they intended to contest jurisdiction, because of the possibility of inconsistent verdicts resulting from two different trials on the same issue.
Justice Healy: Ordered costs on full indemnity against Mr. Slansky (Jointly and Severally) liable with Mr. Best.
Lawyer must make own decision on cooperating with opposing counsel so as not to waste Court Resources, regardless of client’s instructions.
(1) Where a lawyer for a party has caused costs to be incurred without reasonable cause or to be wasted by undue delay, negligence or other default, the court may make an order
(c) requiring the lawyer personally to pay the costs of any party.
(2) An order under subrule (1) may be made by the court on its own initiative or on the motion of any party to the proceeding, but no such order shall be made unless the lawyer is given a reasonable opportunity to make representations to the court.