Patricia Virc practises with our civil litigation group. Her expertise includes corporate governance, investor disputes, oppression and other shareholder remedies, negligence, misrepresentation, defamation, contracts and estates litigation. Patricia has appeared at all levels of court in Ontario and in the Supreme Court of Canada.
Some cases of note in which Patricia has acted as counsel include:
Conn v. Goldstone Resources Inc. (2011 ONCA) The clients were individuals who were sued based on alleged defamatory statements they circulated via the internet concerning a corporate executive. The Court granted summary judgment dismissing the defamation claim, finding that the statements were true. The Court of Appeal for Ontario dismissed the executive’s appeal, finding there was sufficient evidence to support the motions court judge’s findings.
Echo Energy Canada Inc. v. Lenczner Slaght Royce Smith Griffin LLP and Voorheis & Co. (2011 ONCA) (leave to appeal to the SCC dismissed) Lawyers’ bills to a public company totaling over $1M were paid under the authority of out-going management. The corporation, under new management, applied to have the lawyers’ accounts assessed. The Court of Appeal for Ontario held that former management caused the company to commence litigation in an apparent effort to disenfranchise the largest shareholder and preserve their positions. A special committee set up to supervise the lawyers did not fulfill its function. The executive who approved the lawyers’ accounts spent the corporation’s money without regard for the financial impact on the corporation. Former management had not acted in the best interests of the corporation. The Court of Appeal ordered an assessment of the lawyers’ accounts.
Automodular Assemblies Inc. v. Shields (1999 ONSC) The client, Automodular, was a non-unionized automotive supplier to General Motors Corporation of Canada. Members of the CAW engaged in an illegal strike against General Motors to protest General Motors having awarded a multi-year multi-million dollar contract to Automodular. This was intended to, and did, cause General Motors to cancel its contract with Automodular and award it to a unionized supplier. The union could not, in law, be sued. Automodular sued the union leaders by way of a representative action alleging induced breach of contract and interference with economic relations. The representation order was sustained on appeal, leading to a quick settlement.
Consolidated Enfield Corp. v. Blair (1996 ONCJ.GD) The client was a shareholder and former officer of a public corporation. The client obtained an order under s. 161 of the Business Corporations Act appointing an inspector to investigate the business and affairs of the corporation. The evidence showed that, following a change of control, new management caused the corporation to dispose of the corporation’s operating assets and carried out over $300 million of securities transactions with related parties without appropriate disclosure or approval.
Blair v. Consolidated Enfield Corp. (1995 SCC) The Supreme Court of Canada set out the circumstances under which a corporation must indemnify officers and directors. The client had been removed as the president of a public company after a hostile take-over. The corporation, under new management, refused to indemnify the executive for legal costs relating to litigation leading up to the change of control. The SCC held the executive had acted in good faith and that the costs were incurred in the execution of his duties. The SCC ordered that the corporation indemnify him and awarded costs to him on a solicitor and client scale.
Patricia in the News:
COVID-19 is forcing our courts to get with the times. Attorney General Doug Downey and lawyer Patricia Virc speak with CityNews reporter Cynthia Mulligan about how the pandemic is pushing Ontario’s antiquated justice system into the 21st century. Hear the interview
Requiring homebuilders to publish their purchase agreement contracts “in some public way” could level the playing field for consumers, Toronto civil litigator Patricia Virc tells AdvocateDaily.com. … Read more →
Limitations decision puts plaintiffs in ‘scary place’ An Ontario Court of Appeal decision strikes the wrong balance on limitations in the context of smaller claims, … Read more →
Appeal court favours virtuous plaintiff in setting aside settlement Appeal case shows that judges are prepared to take a party’s behaviour into account when reaching decisions, … Read more →
OCA decision reinforces link between tort law and public policy A recent Ontario Court of Appeal decision reinforces the role of tort law in encouraging behaviour in the public interest … Read more →
Supreme Court should resolve controversy over piercing the corporate veil The Supreme Court of Canada should intervene to clarify the law around piercing the corporate veil after Ontario’s top court refused to hold a Canadian subsidiary liable for a US$9.5-billion award against its U.S. parent …Read more →
Limited scope retainer an option for boosting access to justice With more and more civil litigants choosing to self-represent in court, it is clear that all-or-nothing retainers are deterring ordinary people from seeking legal assistance … Read more →
Virc: civil justice system essentially broken The Ontario civil justice system is plagued by inefficiencies and delays, forcing litigants to live with results that are only “fair enough” rather than fair … Read more →
OCA dismisses appeal in trailblazing defamation case The Ontario Court of Appeal’s recent dismissal in a trailblazing defamation case presents interesting commentary around tactical issues at trial … Read more →
Gender diversity report highlights chicken-and-egg problem The results of a recent gender equality survey of public issuers highlights the circular problem with finding meritorious board members … Read more →
SCC provides guidance on independence of experts The Supreme Court of Canada’s recent decision regarding expert opinions provides some guidance on the admissibility and weight of evidence when the expert’s independence or impartiality is called into question … Read more →
Ruling signals judiciary’s frustration with civil court delays
A recent Ontario Superior Court decision on costs highlights the growing frustrations on the bench with regard to civil justice reform … Read more →
TSX-listed companies must disclose number of female executives In an effort to increase the number of women on boards and in other high-ranking positions, as of Jan. 1 Ontario public companies listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) will now have to disclose the number of women on their boards of directors and in executive officer positions … Read more →
Judge’s use of new Rule 2.1 was ‘quite careful’ A recent Superior Court ruling, where the judge drew upon Rule 2.1 to dismiss a motion by a litigant who “already had his day in court,” showed careful … Read more →
Case underlines importance of indemnification rights A recent Ontario Court of Appeal decision highlights how vital it is that directors and officers ensure that a corporation’s bylaws and indemnification contracts protect them … Read more →
OCA slams billable-hour model A Court of Appeal decision, where the judge had strong words for a receiver’s legal fees, could have significant implications for other trials involving large legal fees, … Read more →
OCA upholds Rob Ford victory in defamation suit Ontario’s highest court has upheld a legal victory for Toronto Mayor Rob Ford against a restaurant owner who had sued him for defamation … Read more →
Are you liable for a hyperlink to a defamatory webpage? “Publication” of a defamatory statement is an essential element of the tort of defamation. The Supreme Court of Canada has held that a hyperlink on a website does not, by itself, constitute “publication” of the hyperlinked material for the purposes of defamation liability … Read more →
OCA decision relieves summary judgment concerns The Ontario Court of Appeal’s recent move to clarify the scope of motion judges’ fact-finding powers has alleviated some concerns that followed the Supreme Court of Canada ruling on the subject in Hyrniak v. Maudlin… Read more →
Cloud-based practice can give lawyers an advantage As electronic discovery and disclosure become a more standard part of litigation, lawyers who are fluent with technology and have a cloud-based practice may have an edge, says Toronto civil… Read more →
Shareholder rights and remedies in a private corporation Private companies often operate without a lot of concern for corporate governance and shareholder rights. Formalities such as annual meetings, financial statements and proper corporate approvals can… Read more →
Taking early action crucial in nuisance claim Although the noise, dust or vibrations coming from a neighbouring property may not be violating any environmental or municipal regulations, property owners affected by these issues may still be able… Read more →
SCC won’t hear firm’s appeal over fees
The Supreme Court of Canada today denied a leave to appeal application from a pair of Toronto law firms over a disputed $837,000 legal bill. The decision follows the Ontario Court of Appeal’s October 2010 majority decision in Echo Energy Canada Inc. v. Lenczner Slaght Royce Smith Griffin LLP, which overturned a lower court ruling and allowed an assessment of fees paid to Lenczner Slaght and Voorheis & Co. LLP … Read more →
Patricia receives Chartered Director certification … Read more →