The Quebec Court of Appeal ordered five insurance companies to pay approximately $4.1 million to a bailiff’s firm after it refused to cover its losses and legal fees in a case that clarifies when professional indemnity claims can be triggered and reiterates yet again the principle that lawyers should not have two masters.
In a dense and complex 30-page ruling dealing with an insurance claim arising out a “very complicated and very unusual underlying facts,” the Quebec Court of Appeal maintained its trend of broadly interpreting claims and professional liability insurance policies in favour of claimants, according to insurance lawyer experts.
“In the most general way, this ruling is part of a trend that gives rights to the insured,” observed Valérie Lemaire, an insurance lawyer.
Weeks after three more individuals linked with the bankrupt Montreal financial group Mount Real Corp. were ordered to pay fines ranging from $7,000 to $104,500, its former president now faces charges in an another alleged fraud that dates back to 1998.
Lino Matteo was accused yesterday of conspiring to divert more than $120 million from scandal-plagued Montreal animation company Cinar to several investment companies in the Bahamas tied to Norshield Asset Management, which collapsed into bankruptcy in 2005.
Matteo, who was ordered in three years ago to pay $18,000 in fines after being found guilty of ethical violations by a three-person disciplinary committee of the Quebec Order of Certified Management Accountants, asked for a legal-aid lawyer to represent him in future proceedings. Matteo, whose wife took out a $50,000 mortgage on a property to secure his release, cannot leave the country and is not allowed to take part in investment work.
Montreal animator Claude Robinson awarded $5.2 million after a 13-year copyright battle.