Ferreira v. St. Mary’s General Hospital, 2017 ONSC 6631 (CanLII)

Lawyers can be held personally responsible for costs when a lawyer breaches his or her duty as an officer of the court and abuses the processes of the court.

Heard: In Writing | Full Decision [PDF]

Mr. Fernando Ferreira was involved in a car accident on December 17, 2016, and subsequently retained Georgiana Masgras to represent him in a personal injury lawsuit. On July 3, 2017, Mr. Ferreira suffered a heart attack and was hospitalized at St. Mary’s Hospital. He was put on life support and his treating doctors determined there was no possibility of meaningful recovery. A recommendation was made to withdraw life support and Mr. Ferreira’s family agreed. They believed that Mr. Ferreira would not want prolonged life support and that he wanted his organs to be donated.

On July 7, 2017, Ms. Masgras brought an emergency application on Mr. Ferreira’s behalf to enjoin St. Mary’s Hospital from withdrawing life support. On July 8, 2017, Justice Arrell granted the order ex parte and directed that a hearing take place several days later before Justice Marrocco on notice to the Hospital and Mr. Ferreira’s wife. Subsequently Justice Marrocco made an order setting aside the Order of Justice Arrell based on new information that showed a number of claims in an affidavit part of Ms. Masgras’ application were untrue or misleading. Life support was then withdrawn and Mr. Ferreira passed away.

The Hospital and Mr. Ferriera’s treating physicians then returned to Justice Arrell and requested that their legal costs be paid by Ms. Masgras personally on the basis that:

  • Ms. Masgras did not have instructions on behalf of Mr. Ferreira or his family to bring the application.
  • The affidavit evidence relied on by Ms. Masgras was inaccurate and misleading.
  • Ms. Masgras improperly named the Hospital as a respondent even though Mr. Ferreira’s treating physicians were not employees of the Hospital.

Justice Arrell found that he would not have issued the original order had he known all the facts. In considering costs, Justice indicated that he was satisfied that the Respondents incurred costs needlessly as set out in Rule 57.07(1) as a result of the inappropriate application brought by Ms. Masgras who had no instructions, submitted misleading material to the court, and was at the very least negligent or mistaken in her preparation of the materials submitted in court.

As a result, Justice Arrell ordered Ms. Masgras to personally pay costs of $15,000.

 

Read the full decision [PDF]
Einav Shlomovitz
Written by

Einav practices exclusively in civil litigation. Her practice focuses on motor vehicle accident, accident benefits, occupier’s liability, slip/trip and falls, dog bites, medical malpractice, solicitor negligence, class action, employment and sexual assault claims.

During her free time, Einav takes improv and Spanish lessons. She enjoys being active, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.