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Friday, February 10, 2006

Man can sue ex-wife's lawyer, court rules

This article is very interesting, although the circumstances and jurisdiction are slightly different in my case, there is undoubtedly liability of my ex's attorney for his actions in my domestic relations matter.

Man can sue ex-wife's lawyer, court rules
KIRK MAKIN - JUSTICE REPORTERTuesday, February 22, 2005

A lawsuit that accuses a Toronto lawyer of counselling her client to fabricate evidence in a bitter divorce contest should be allowed to proceed to trial, the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled yesterday.

The litigant -- Andrew Lawrence -- alleges that he was wrongly imprisoned for almost 10 days after his estranged wife, Carol Lawrence, made up several stories about him assaulting her, including attacking her with a hot iron and a set of keys.
His lawsuit says that family lawyer Theresa MacLean advised Ms. Lawrence to make up stories of domestic abuse to enhance her divorce claims to their marital home and children.

Mr. Lawrence was ultimately acquitted on April 24, 2003, of nine of the 10 criminal charges against him. He was convicted of breaching his bail conditions by placing a phone call to his estranged wife -- which he admitted.

After his trial, Mr. Lawrence launched his lawsuit, alleging that Ms. MacLean acted "with reckless disregard for the truth and consequences" of her conduct. It was thrown out last year by an Ontario Superior Court judge on the basis that the allegations did not constitute "a reasonable cause of action."

However, in a 2-1 ruling yesterday, the Court of Appeal reinstated the lawsuit. It said the allegations are "arguably capable of implicating" Ms. MacLean in false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, abuse of process and civil conspiracy.

"I almost fainted when I heard about the decision," Mr. Lawrence said in an interview. He said that Ms. MacLean "can make life as difficult as she wants during a divorce -- that's fine and dandy. But when you counsel another person to commit a crime, you can't hide under the banner of being a lawyer."

Mr. Lawrence's lawyer, Joseph Markin, said the case will ring true for many men being prosecuted for domestic abuse. Police are required to automatically lay charges when wives allege abuse, he said yesterday, which makes it a useful tool in divorce proceedings.

"It would be intolerable if a lawyer could do that," Mr. Markin said.
Neither Ms. MacLean nor her co-counsel on the case, Carolyn MacLean, returned phone calls yesterday.

Ms. Lawrence alleged that her husband pinned her against a wall on May 15, 2001, plugged in an iron and held it close to her face once it had heated up. On another occasion, she said, he threw a set of keys at her, causing a bad cut.

She also alleged that in a separate attack in late 2000, an enraged Mr. Lawrence threw her to the floor and injured her neck. In yet another incident, he allegedly pushed her onto a bed and then tossed her onto their bedroom floor.

The judge at Mr. Lawrence's trial had numerous problems with the Crown's evidence. He was suspicious about Ms. Lawrence's lack of scarring from the iron incident and the fact that she did not struggle with her husband. "She appears to have survived that incident without any obvious scar, cut, bruise or other injury," the judge said. "The description begs belief."

The trial judge also found it disturbing that the dates Ms. Lawrence supplied for some of incidents varied substantially. He said the complainant struck him as a resolute character who was not easily controlled by others.

"She impressed me as someone of obvious competence and courage," the judge said. "She is not the submissive, controlled spouse she would have us accept. She is capable, under stress and duress, in my view, of concocting scenarios."

Fired from his job at a car plant recently, he is living on unemployment insurance. Mr. Lawrence said his wife left him with their three children about a year ago, and he hasn't heard from her in several months.-- JUSTICE REPORTER

© The Globe and Mail. Republished with permission. All Rights Reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced or republished or redistributed without the prior written consent of the copyright holder.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Currently involved with a NJ case of a NJ municipal court judge representing my x wife in family court post divorce, coached her to file a false claim of domestic violence, false calim to family services and false criminal complaint.
These complaints were filed in his municipal court as he proceeded to take children away in family court motions.

Had to deal with Family services investigation which turned out to be basless and after 30 days they indicated it would be dropped.

On the 29th day family services recieves an annonomus call for the same charges, which opened the investigation another 30 days.

At the final restraining order hearing in NJ Superior court the same lawyer/judge representing the x wife against this pro se litigant lost the case as it was proven that both he and his client have created a big tale that lacked merit or truth. (had evidence tape recorded and nailed them). complaint dismissed.

The next morning defendant had to appear in Municipal court (lower NJ court) to have the criminal charges heard for the same dv claim that was dismissed in the higher Superior court the afternoon prior.

Sitting on the bench in municipal court was her lawyer now playing Judge. The judge proceeded to arraign defendant on charges that were already dismissed in a higher court that required a lower burden of proof for conviction where he was the appearing attorney of record.

He then dropped off the case for a conflict of interest passed case to his buddy judge in the same muni court. This second judge refused requests for a probable cause determinaton or hearing or to verify who found probable cause in the case. Since neither the clerk or the police officer taking the police report found probable cause.

Additionally, refused to move the case to another county This second Judge was the same judge who issued the original dv restraining order that was didmissed.

Instead he continued to prosecute unless defendant would cut a deal that he would wave right to sue civilly.
(all on the record)

He continued this case for a 5 month period and multiple hearing dates. Even attempted to allow the town prosecuter to handle the case since her lawyer was also a judge in that same municipal court.

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