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BARRISTERS AND SOLICITORS - Liability

Thursday, June 20, 2019 @ 8:41 AM  


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Motion by the plaintiff Podogaetam Holdings for partial summary judgement. This action was one of several matters under case management. All the claims arose out of allegations that Langlois defrauded many of the clients of Charron Langlois LLP. Langlois did not defend the action and was believed to be residing in the Dominican Republic with the misappropriated funds. In September 2013, Langlois approached Podogaetam, seeking a loan to ensure Charron Langlois LLP’s continuing operations. Podogaetam loaned Langlois $120,000. Charron, a lawyer, drafted the various loan documents needed to paper the loan. Around August 2016, Podogaetam stopped receiving monthly payments on the loan. Podogaetam had never received the principal amount loaned to Langlois nor any interest payment since that time. Charron admitted that he never advised Podogaetam that Langlois was personally indebted to him for approximately $500,000 and had never paid what he owed to him from a vendor take-back loan. Charron agreed that he had a fiduciary obligation toward Cuerrier, the president, sole director, and shareholder of Podogaetam. However, Charron asserted that he advised Cuerrier, before preparing the loan documentation, that Langlois was a poor credit risk, that Cuerrier should obtain security for the loan, that Charron was in a conflict of interest in preparing the note, and that Cuerrier should obtain independent legal advice.

HELD: Motion dismissed. Podogaetam failed to establish that there was no genuine issue requiring a trial. There were live issues of credibility and the evidence was extensive and conflicting. The issue of whether Charron breached his fiduciary duty could not be readily bifurcated from the issue of whether he negligently performed his professional responsibilities because the issues arose from the same facts. Any final determination made on a motion for summary judgement ran the risk of inconsistent findings. The motion for partial summary judgement would not have provided a proportionate, more expeditious, and less expensive means to achieve a just result.

Podogaetam Holdings Inc. v. Langlois, [2019] O.J. No. 2449, Ontario Superior Court of Justice, R. Beaudoin J., May 9, 2019. Digest No. TLD-June172019010