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PROCEEDINGS - Evidence - Affidavits

Friday, June 18, 2021 @ 1:32 PM  

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Application by counsel for the personal representatives of an estate to strike part of an affidavit sworn by an estate beneficiary. The affidavit was sworn in an application for an administration freeze, an accounting and case management. The beneficiary alleged suboptimal performance by one of the personal representatives before the deceased’s death and by both personal representatives afterward. The challenged parts of the affidavit related to complaints to the Law Society of Alberta against counsel for the personal representatives and against one of the personal representatives, who was also a lawyer. The beneficiary included copies of his complaint letter against both, the Law Society’s acknowledgement of receipt of the complaint letters and associated e-mails. The beneficiary took the position that the materials were relevant to his applications.

HELD: Application allowed. There was no evidence showing that any investigations had concluded or even been launched. The mere existence of complaints on their own was not relevant to the issues. Neither member’s ability to practise law had been affected and it was premature to regard the complaint as casting any shadow over any of their words or actions. The complaint letters, the initial response Law Society letters and the associated e-mails were not relevant and had to be struck. The determination of the relevancy, if any, of the attachments to the complaint letters was left for the application justice.

Widney v. Muench, [2021] A.J. No. 627, Alberta Court of Queen's Bench, M. Lema J., May 7, 2021. Digest No. TLD-June142021010