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Posts from the ‘Justice Quinn’ Category

Does Family Law Deserve the Bad Rap?

bad rap

Does Family Law Deserve the Bad Rap?

It probably goes without saying that the Law (and lawyers) have a bad reputation. In particular, Family Law is notorious for inducing resentment – from those who go through (or are dragged into) its processes, and from those who are affected directly or indirectly by its principles and outcomes.

The question is whether the unfavourable assessment is a fair one – at least compared to other areas of the Canadian legal system.

Part of the reason the complaints are so widespread, is because it’s the one realm – more than any other – to which most people are likely to be exposed at one point or the other in their lives. Whether it’s during relatively happy times (i.e. pre-marital contracts or cohabitation agreements) or more unhappy ones (i.e. separation, divorce, child custody, and estate planning), Family Law principles and proceedings come into play. So as long as human beings continue to connect to and disconnect from each other, Family Law can have a role to play in governing that process.

The other reason is that, by definition, emotions run high in family-related proceedings, and this means that any “wins” or “losses” in the family court system are felt with especially acute impact by its participants. Talk to any random stranger on the street, and eventually they will share some personal complaint or injustice, or even just a story about someone they know who (apparently) “got taken” in a divorce. Or open a newspaper to find discussion of some controversial child custody case, high-profile spousal support settlement, or celebrity divorce dispute.

In prior blogs, I have written about the Family Law judgments of Justice Quinn, which display an unusual candour and often-comical analysis of the cases over which the judge is presiding. But since his judicial mandate extends to the full spectrum of legal areas, Justice Quinn hears cases of all types. In one commercial litigation case called Verge Insurance Brokers Ltd. v. Sherk, he draws parallels between the civil case before him, and the Family proceedings to which he is well-accustomed.

In his judgment in connection with an employment matter involving an insurance salesman’s dismissal from a family-run brokerage, and his alleged breach of a non-competition agreement, Justice Quinn writes:

There is much about this case that resembles a Family Court proceeding involving an adulterous spouse: passion has pilfered all perspective; judgment that would otherwise be insightful is clouded; bitterness hangs in the air; and, the IQs of the parties have temporarily dropped to the ambient temperature of the courtroom (otherwise, why would this family be exposing its dirty corporate laundry in such a public forum).

The parties are discovering that revenge has an odour – it is the smell of burning money.

And then in the footnote, Justice Quinn adds:

With a whiff of singed reputation.

So this begs the question – is Family Law different from other areas of the law? Or is it just the one that feels most familiar, gets the most “play” in everyday life, and attracts the most attention?

For the full text of the decision, see:

Verge Insurance Brokers Ltd. v. Sherk, 2013 ONSC 7855 (CanLII)

At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders. For more information, visit us at www.RussellAlexander.com

Ontario Courts Tell it Like it Is

A judge-cartoon

Ontario Courts Tell it Like it Is

While reviewing a few Ontario family decisions recently, I noticed that the judges introduced their written reasons with a subtle and judicially-uncharacteristic lament, and in some cases, outright incredulity.

Using phrases like “a family tragedy” or “unhappy story” the judges provide a glimpse of some of the empathy and quiet frustration underlying their otherwise-impartial decisions.

For example, in Zesta Engineering Ltd. v. Cloutier, the court introduced the case this way:

This lawsuit is a case study of the risks and consequences of intertwining business, family, and marital relationships. On its face, this proceeding involves claims for breach of fiduciary duty and misappropriation of corporate assets by departing employees, coupled with counterclaims for wrongful dismissal. Beneath the surface it is the unhappy story of the impact of a marriage breakdown on a successful business enterprise, and the decade of litigation that has ensued.

In a case called VanSickle (Elms) v. VanSickle the court began its judgment this way:

This is a family tragedy. The [father’s] relationship with his two children, … is now irreparably shattered. The parties have spent money they could ill afford on four days of trial wherein the [husband] has done his utmost to convince the court that his daughter, a university student, is no longer a dependent and not entitled to any support from him. ….

And from Justice Quinn (who can often be relied on for a little editorializing in his judgments, see my previous Blogs, there is the less-moderate introduction to the decision in Szakacs v. Clarke, where he pointedly tells it like it is:

Introduction

For best courtroom adaptation of a work of fiction, the award goes to the applicant, Clarissa Olenka Szakacs, who shamelessly feigned what she thought was necessary to convince the court to circumscribe access by the respondent to their almost-six-year-old daughter.

One could sit in Family Court for many years and not encounter such a callously conniving and mendaciously manipulative litigant. …

At several points throughout the trial, Ms. Szakacs emphasized that she was a Christian who practiced Christian values. There must be some key pages missing from her copy of the Bible.

Finally, in a judgment from only a few months ago called De Cruz-Lee v. Lee, the exasperated yet still-mindful judge said:

Overview

1 This case is a classic illustration of the difficulty of obtaining justice when a trial is conducted by a party or parties who are self-represented. Ms. Angela De Cruz-Lee (“Ms. De Cruz-Lee”) was self-represented and conducted the trial by herself. It is said that a person who represents himself has a fool for a client. That saying should add something about how self-representation is about the most expensive trial lawyer you can pay for. … [T]his trial originally was scheduled for one to four days and was set … to settle two issues. On November 17, 2014 a further pre-trial was held. The issues were down to ownership of the home estimated to be a one to two day trial. The trial in fact went on for nine days. The dispute was over an approximate $53,000 held in trust. Regrettably, the costs of this trial will consume most if not all of that amount. I note that Superior Court trials in Family Court are governed by a variety of rules. These rules are designed to ensure trials are expeditiously run at some cost efficient level. At this trial, those rules meant nothing. …

In writing this judgment, I have cautioned myself, that in the end, Ms. De Cruz-Lee was poorly represented and I am going to have to make allowance for that fact in making my decision.

Judges are only human. Such sentiments are no real surprise in light of the parade of difficult, doubtless heart-wrenching family disputes that come before them daily – some of which should never have been aired in a Canadian courtroom at all.

For the full text of the decisions, see:

Zesta Engineering Ltd. v. Cloutier, 2010 ONSC 5810

VanSickle (Elms) v. VanSickle, 2012 ONSC 7340

Szakacs v. Clarke, [2014] O.J. No. 6214

De Cruz-Lee v. Lee, 2015 ONSC 1900

At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders. For more information, visit us at www.RussellAlexander.com

Another Classic Family Judgment by Justice Quinn

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Another Classic Family Judgment by Justice Quinn

We have written before about the unique and often-entertaining Family Law judgments of Justice J.W. Quinn, who hears cases in St. Catherines, Ontario. Although those judgments are not that frequent, when they do come down the judicial-ruling “pipes”, they are certainly worth the wait.

The latest, a decision called Szakacs v. Clark, is no exception. It involved a bitter custody dispute fought with great vitriol by two self-represented parents. Justice Quinn begins his ruling this way:

For best courtroom adaptation of a work of fiction, the award goes to the [mother], who shamelessly feigned what she thought was necessary to convince the court to circumscribe access by the re-spondent to their almost-six-year-old daughter.

One could sit in Family Court for many years and not encounter such a callously conniving and mendaciously manipulative litigant. She effortlessly put the “rage” in “outrageous,” …

At several points throughout the trial, Ms. [mother] emphasized that she was a Christian who practiced Christian values. There must be some key pages missing from her copy of the Bible.

Justice Quinn then recounted the background facts relating to the mother, who had several short relationships and what the judge called a “lacklustre employment history” culminating in her current state of unemployment which persisted despite the child’s full-day attendance in kindergarten. He described that she met the child’s father online, and became pregnant at their first offline meeting. Among the many unflattering assessments he calls her “argumentative, flippant, acerbic, and sarcastic”, and then wonders aloud: “If she is like this in court, what must she be like outside the courtroom?”

The father, in contrast, appeared to Justice Quinn to be a soft-spoken, “impressive witness” with a stable family background who displayed signs of parental maturity.

But despite what may be some early editorializing in his judgment, Justice Quinn did eventually turn to a more substantive, and legally-based assessment of the overall merits of the case. For example, in ordering that joint custody would be in the child’s best interests, Justice Quinn reflected on whether – despite early indications to the contrary – the parents were likely to co-operate with each other. He wrote:

It cannot be said that the parties lack the ability to co-operate, because co-operation has hardly been tried. [The mother] to use a vernacularism, has called the shots from the beginning and [the father] has complied. [The mother] should not be rewarded for her arrogant and one-sided treatment of [the father]. Once [he] is given a voice (as I intend to do) an acceptable level of co-operation is more than feasible. Indeed, I think that [the father] will be an effective stabilizing force in what is now a non-benevolent dictatorship.

Of some importance is the fact that a joint custody order will prevent the efforts of [the mother] to limit and marginalize [the father’s] relationship with the child. [The father] has much to offer as a parent. …

Fortunately, [the father] has a bond with his daughter (despite the efforts of [the mother]) and it will grow stronger. She enjoys being with him and benefits from that relationship. Although [the mother] has shamefully manipulated the access regime to this point, no permanent harm to the father-daughter relationship has resulted. Had this litigation not occurred for a few more years (which seems to have been the agenda of [the mother]), I expect that there would be permanent harm and her goal achieved: fatherless parenting.

It’s another interesting judgment by Justice Quinn, written in his trademark unconventional style.

What are your thoughts about these decisions? Do you think this style of judgment-writing has a place in the Canadian family law system?

For the full text of the decision, see:

Szakacs v. Clarke, 2014 ONSC 7487

At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders. For more information, visit our main site.

Ex-wife Lives with Male “Friend”, But Never Pays Him Rent; Should Ex-Husband Still Pay Her Support?

tenant

Ex-wife Lives with Male “Friend”, But Never Pays Him Rent; Should Ex-Husband Still Pay Her Support?

In a recent case called Colley v. Colley, Mr. Justice Quinn — who has an established history of writing interesting decisions  as judge for the Ontario Superior Court of Justice – expressed some healthy scepticism at the story by a wife who was now living with another man. In short, he did not buy her story that he was a “friend” from whom she was “renting” accommodation; he suspected she was living with him common law but still trying to maximize the spousal support she was getting from her ex-husband.

The parties had been married for 23 when they separated in 2000. Under their 2005 divorce, the husband agreed to pay the wife $3,100 per month in spousal support. The wife was earning about $29,000 as a dental assistant at the time.

After 12 years of paying, the husband applied to end his support obligations entirely, partly because his income had dropped by more than half after a catastrophic and debilitating stroke in 2011. He was on disability benefits, and would never return to work since half his body was paralysed and he was confined to a wheelchair needing 24-hour care and assistance.

But even aside from this, the husband also claimed his support obligations toward his 55-year old ex-wife should be reduced because she was now living with a male “friend”, and claimed she was his tenant. However, she never paid rent. In her court documents the wife purported to explain the situation this way:

The arrangement was that I would contribute $500.00 a month towards the housing expenses and I would pay all my personal expenses and for my food. I am indebted to him $6,000.005 for the back rent and he has told me quite bluntly this month that my living with him has become a financial drain and that he is tired of carrying me.

However, Justice Quinn was clearly not convinced. To this, he remarked:

[The wife] has alleged something in the nature of a landlord-tenant relationship with [the male “friend”]. Accordingly, she bears the burden of proving this fact, otherwise she must face the logical inference that, instead, it is a romantic or common-law relationship. She has not met that burden. The essence of a landlord-tenant relationship is the payment of rent. She is not paying rent.

The court said:

This means that [the wife], who, by this time, had been living with [the male “friend”] for 12 months, had not paid a penny toward “rent.” Am I really supposed to believe that this was some form of landlord-tenant relationship?

The court found instead that the wife was living common-law with the other man, and that it was her responsibility to provide evidence as to his income, so that the wife’s need for spousal support could be properly assessed in light of it. Without that information, the court was likely to draw unfavourable inferences.

The court also noted that it was not the sheer fact of her living with another man that potentially affected her spousal support entitlement; rather it was the financial impact of that re-partnering, and how it might affect her need for spousal support.

Having found that the husband’s reduced income was permanent and that it was a material change, the court granted his motion to vary; his support obligations were gradually reduced from about $800 per month down to about $500 per month over the next few years.

For the full text of the decision, see:

Colley v. Colley, 2013 ONSC 5666, [2013] O.J. No. 4055

At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders. For more information, visit our main site.

Mr. Justice Quinn Says: “An Order is an Order, Not a Suggestion”

order

 

Mr. Justice Quinn Says: “An Order is an Order, Not a Suggestion

Devoted followers of my Blog will know that I have written several posts about the uniquely-blunt and funny judgments of Mr. Justice Quinn of the Ontario Court.

The latest in this series of posts involves the older decision in Gordon v. Starr, 2007 CanLII 35527 (ON SC) (http://canlii.ca/t/1sq55).

In that case, one of the spouses had been ordered, as an interim step in what the court called “unrelenting” custody and child support litigation, to pay a small amount in legal costs up-front. She did not do so, claiming that she was unable to pay; however the facts suggested that she was deliberately unemployed. In addition to lackluster job search efforts, she had unreasonably refused to seek work outside a fairly narrow geographical area, despite it being within a reasonable commuting distance. The claim that she had no money was also suspect in light of her 2-year delay in moving the child support proceedings along. As Mr. Justice Quinn wrote:

Her financial statement shows monthly expenses of $4,229.52. By resorting to friends, relatives and assets, she is managing to get by. She has a home, rental property, some rental income and the capacity to earn significant employment income. In short, she has the ability to satisfy the May costs order. She has deliberately placed herself in a position of non-compliance with the May costs order.

The other spouse had asked the court for an order striking out the pleadings or dismissing the upcoming motion. However, Mr. Justice Quinn concluded that such measures would be unduly harsh and not in the best interests of anyone.

Instead, after reviewing the circumstances, Mr. Justice Quinn barred her from participating in any further proceedings until she paid those legal costs first, writing:

Why should any litigant be spared from obeying a court order? …. Why should the court be available to those who disobey its orders?


When I made that order [to pay costs], I did not attach any provisos, conditions or exceptions. I did not say, for example, that Gordon need comply with the May costs order only if she felt like it or if it was financially convenient for her to do so.


Court orders are not made as a form of judicial exercise. An order is an order, not a suggestion. Non-compliance must have consequences. One of the reasons that many family proceedings degenerate into an expensive merry-go-round ride is the all-too-common casual approach to compliance with court orders.

Mr. Justice Quinn accordingly ordered that the child support motion that had been brought by the defaulting spouse was to be dismissed, and could only be reinstated once she paid costs as she had been ordered to do.

For the full text of the decision, see:

Gordon v. Starr, 2007 CanLII 35527 (ON SC)   http://canlii.ca/t/1sq55

At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders. For more information, visit us at www.RussellAlexander.com.

Even More Quips from Mr. Justice Quinn

happy face

Even More Quips from Mr. Justice Quinn

Those of you who have read my Blogs in the past will know that in the past I have highlighted some of the more amusing decisions written by Mr. Justice Quinn of the Family Court branch of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. In a recent Family Law decision called Stirling v. Blake, Mr. Justice Quinn is in fine form yet again.

The factual background of the case – which involved an application by a mother to vary a prior order giving the father access to their children – is not really necessary to appreciate the literary flair that the judge demonstrates, in both the judgment itself and in numerous humorous footnotes. Mr. Justice Quinn begins his reasons in Stirling v. Blake with this opener:

In the period 2001-2013, these parties (individually or together) appeared in Family Court 65 times. At the St. Catharines Court House, they are more tenants than litigants.

After chronicling the mother’s various failed relationships with other men after her separation from the father, the judge wrote:

The fact that [the mother] appears to be a serial spouse is unsettling, but it is not terribly relevant to the motions.

In a footnote, Mr. Justice Quinn added:

If her current relationship fails, [the mother] should seek counselling with a view to determining why she has no talent for picking a mate. Alternatively, she should not live with or marry another man without the written permission of her six closest friends, who, no doubt, will see what she, so far, has failed to see.

Turning next to a description of the father, Mr. Justice Quinn observed:

[The father] is a 55-year-old, self-employed painter, sometimes likeable, frequently articulate and always passionate. He has been married, divorced and is a grandfather and, like so many of the poor souls who amble into Family Court, he has not learned from his mistakes. He is too busy perfecting them. [The father] dances to the tune of a different drummer.

In a footnote, he added:

In fact, so does his drummer.

About the father’s residence:

After making a point of defending the cleanliness of his apartment, he freely admitted that his premises “have clutter.” As he put it, the clutter consists of the evidence of “all of the past activities” of his children. Apparently, over the years, whatever the children have done in his apartment, he has left in place as some sort of shrine.

In the footnote, Mr. Justice Quinn writes:

This might be cute for a few days, but after years have gone by cute becomes creepy.

On the father’s admitted frequent marijuana use:

I was alarmed when I heard that [the father] uses marijuana with the same casual frequency that others drink coffee. But my eyebrows were the only ones in the courtroom that arched. His marijuana use is a fact known from 2001 onwards, yet it did not play a role in any of the orders that were made. Perhaps my alarm manifests a fuddy-duddy perspective (I am aware that the decriminalization of marijuana use currently is part of the platform of at least one Federal political party). I gave thought to ordering that [the father] not use marijuana when with the children. However, I abandoned the notion as it would be a mere finger-wagging order (I would be directing [the father] to behave himself and to not commit a criminal offence during access visits).

As an aside, in yet another footnote Mr. Justice Quinn added:

I might as well order Mr. Blake not to rob a bank while exercising access.

And finally, Mr. Justice Quinn observed:

In a trial involving self-represented litigants, my expectations are low: all I ask is that they be clothed. If they can fake civility toward each other and pretend to be respectful of the court, that is a merciful bonus.

For the full text of the decision, see:

Stirling v. Blake, 2013 ONSC 5216 (CanLII)  http://canlii.ca/t/g02jg

At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders. For more information, visit us at www.RussellAlexander.com.

“A marriage licence surely must be the easiest of all licences to obtain” Even More Quips from Justice Quinn: Thomas v. Thomas

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Even More Quips from Justice Quinn: Thomas v. Thomas

A while ago I highlighted the decisions by Mr. Justice Quinn in the cases of Bruni v. Brunihttp://bit.ly/lhJ15r and Pirbhai v. Singh http://bit.ly/lx509U, where the esteemed Ontario Court Judge provided some quotable quotes and funny quips in the context of resolving the disputes before him.

In that same vein, I thought I would highlight an earlier decision by Justice Quinn that shows he was in fine comedic form even a decade ago.

In Thomas v. Thomas, 2003 CanLII 64346 (ON SC) http://canlii.ca/t/2342w the judgment begins as follows:

The parties in this matrimonial litigation, both with a military background, came to learn that marriage “is a field of battle and not a bed of roses.”
(Ever one for attention to detail, in his footnote the Judge correctly credits this “bed of roses” quote to Robert Louis Stevenson’s, Virginibus Puerisque (1881))

About the parties’ communication skills, the Judge observes:

One week after the wedding, the husband announced that there would be no children of the marriage. And, he told the wife to “not think about accidentally getting pregnant.” She was greatly upset by this and grieved for awhile.

The footnote reads:

It is both sad and remarkable that, prior to the wedding, these highly intelligent people did not discuss if they would have children or what roles each would perform in the marriage or whether the wife would be expected to pursue a career and work outside the home. A marriage licence surely must be the easiest of all licences to obtain.

In the course of chronicling the breakdown of the marriage, he writes:

In July 1990, the husband was transferred to Hamilton, Ontario. Although the wife had taken some time to settle into her life in Germany, she grew to like it and did not want to leave. Nevertheless, there was no choice in the matter and the parties returned to Ontario. Thereafter, the marital temperature never got above freezing. Sexual relations ended.

The footnote to this passage reads:

Like many families, watching rented videotaped movies was part of their lifestyle. However, they each would rent their own movies and watch them separately. Apart from eating, sleeping and breathing they had nothing in common.

On August 5, 2001, while returning from a week-end trip that he and his wife had taken to Kingston (it was a police convention of sorts), the husband announced that he wanted a divorce. Much time and evidence was devoted to this week-end. Apart from wondering why, in the light of the sorry state of the marriage, the husband would extend an invitation to the wife to accompany him and she would accept, all that needs to be said about the trip is that it was extremely unpleasant and acrimonious. I accept the testimony of the wife that, on the way home in their motor vehicle, the husband chronicled all of her shortcomings. She was shocked, hurt and confused.

Again, the footnote says this:

It is quite amazing that the marriage lasted 14 years. One would have thought that, “The weakest kind of fruit drops earliest to the ground.” (Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, Act IV, scene i, line 115.)

For the full text of the decision, see:

Thomas v. Thomas, 2003 CanLII 64346 (ON SC) http://canlii.ca/t/2342w

At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders. For more information, visit us at www.RussellAlexander.com.

15 Best Quips by Justice Quinn in Pirbhai v. Singh

15 Best Quips by Justice Quinn in Pirbhai v. Singh

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice released the 2010 decision of Justice Quinn in the case of Kalinuddin Pirbhai v. Gurnek Singh on May 7th, 2010.

This is another decision filled with wry quips and comments by Justice Quinn. The background and outcome of the Singh decision can be found in earlier blog Quinn’s Quips Continue: More Quips from Mr. Justice Quinn http://bit.ly/l0Tt86

Keeping with the 15 Best Quips format we decided to highlight some of Justice Quinn’s more colourful and pointed comments. Justice Quinn’s judicious use of humor and wry quips continue to provide fodder for bloggers and legal commentators.

Here we go:

1. A friend of a friend is not necessarily your friend.

2. In 1999, the plaintiff was in the market for a used, high-end motor vehicle. A friend of his said that he had a friend who could supply such a vehicle. Ten years, and 31 days of trial, later, that transaction is finally completed. The plaintiff ended up with an expensive bargain.

3. The trial was most notable for revealing the defendant, Gurnek Singh (“Singh”), to be unblinkingly dishonest. He shows no aptitude for the truth; he is without a conscience; he is incorrigible.

4. Singh, on the other hand, is a devious man and an unbelievable witness who will do or say anything to advance his position. He was maddeningly unwilling to respond to the simplest of questions and often had to be asked the same question over and over (no doubt using the time gained to visit his pantry of untruthful answers).

5. Indeed, by the end of the trial, if Singh were to have testified that the world was round, I immediately would have sought membership in the Flat Earth Society.

6. Throughout the trial, I patiently waited for a Phoenix-like moment that might serve to rehabilitate his credibility: it never came. All in all, he was an exasperating witness who told untruths too numerous to catalogue and insulting in their breadth.

7. I feel somewhat responsible for this as I must have done or said something during the trial that caused Singh to believe that I was dim-witted.

8. There is no suggestion that Singh was the victim of a rogue employee or that there was a faxing poltergeist bumping about Brampton Auto.

9. Singh deposited the cheque to his personal bank account and thought that his splendid skullduggery had succeeded.

10. the plaintiff took the Lexus for a drive. He noted that the vehicle swayed, swerved, wobbled and emitted unusual noises. He also observed that it seemed to have a number of body parts that did not match [with the endnote] .. Something of an automotive Frankenstein.

11. Singh abandoned the Toyota story, said “Yes,” this document related to the Lexus, and offered an explanation that fell somewhere between a yarn and a fairy tale.

12. Singh’s evidence, in this area of the case, is an example of the elaborate lengths to which he was prepared to go to deceive the court. If lies were clothes, Singh would have been considerably overdressed for the trial.

13. Singh maintained that he did not receive this fax. However, the telephone records of the plaintiff establish that it was sent as he testified. Singh, overestimating the obtuseness of his audience, straight-facedly testified that perhaps the plaintiff had faxed a blank piece of paper. Singh did not produce any telephone records for this time-frame.

14. Singh’s casual and haphazard approach to his business and corporate structure and, more importantly, his fraudulent conduct in this case, vitiate the benefit of limited liability available through the process of incorporation and, therefore, in my opinion, attract personal liability. The corporate veil here was more of a bandit’s mask.

15. I have not said anything about a counterclaim made by Singh and that is because it was advanced with more nerve than merit. At that point in the trial, Singh’s credibility had immolated and the court was up to its sash in falsehoods.

Justice Quinn’s full decision is available at http://bit.ly/nsaDn9

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