Monday, July 27, 2015

Leave to Amend...Granted

I had two amendments on the table, and the University was opposing me. The amendments would make it significantly more difficult for them to defend themselves against my claims, and they knew it. So both sets amendments were set down to be argued in June.

On June 3rd we appeared to argue my amendments in Green v Tram...the practicum expulsion. Actually, the argument on the motion had been adjourned back in December, so we were going to argue the amendments, and then, pending the result, we would conclude the argument on the Motion for Summary Judgment.

Mr. Meronek stood up to speak for the University. He told the Judge...he was not going to oppose the amendments! Briefs and affidavits had been filed, arguments prepared...but the University was folding its cards on this one. My claim would go forward...not in conspiracy to injure, but now in breach of contract.

I proceeded to state my argument: whether or not the University had the benefit of co-conspirators in the persons of Mrs. Skull and Mr. Tram from Gordon Bell, they breached their contractual obligations to me when they bypassed the due process owed me in Page 27 of the Practicum Handbook and moved to the "expedited removal" on Page 28 of the handbook.

The Judge was skeptical. Where is your evidence, he asked? That was easy. I opened up the University's own dossier, pointed to the correspondence of November 21st, where the Principal informs me that she is setting up a meeting with my facultly advisor, in accordance with the procedures set down on Page 27 of the handbook. That meeting never took place. Instead, Deb Wolyshyn, the student teacher co-ordinator and the Univeristy, emailed Skull and requested that she move to the "expedited removal" procedures on Page 28. That's what the school used is the student teacher is molesting a girl or something serious like that. There is no due're just out.

The Judge frowned. This wasn't going the way he wanted it. He turned to Page 29 of the handbook and started going through the list of  steps in the expedited removal. "Did they provide you with this? Did they do that?" Yes, yes, I told him. I was provided with all the steps of the expedited removal...well, actually I wasn't. They didn't set up a Performance Committee Review, which was the only thing that could have still saved me. But that wasn't the point. I wasn't suing them because they failed to properly implement the Page 28 procedures. I was suing them because they improperly bypassed the Page 27 procedures...the Due Process which I was owed according to the Handbook.

It was an airtight argument. I sat down pretty satisfied that I had made my point. But we still had my other lawsuit to deal with...the one for kicking me out of the program at the University. That would be argued the following day.

Again, we would be starting with my Leave to Amend. This one had been argued to completion back in December, and I had realized that the Judge wasn't buying my claim in Duty of Care. I said that they breached their Duty of Care to me when they failed to safeguard my rights under the Non-Academic Misconduct proceedings: they didn't allow me to call witnesses in my own defence, they didn't allow me to cross-examine my accusers; they didn't even disclose all the accusations against me.

The problem with this claim was that the Judge was going to rule that I should have sought Judicial Review instead of suing for damages. He was wrong legally, for all kinds of reasons....but that was what he was going to do. So I figured out a way to make it harder for him. I re-wrote my claim: instead of arguing that they denied me my procedural rights, I now argued that they had given me all the rights explicitly laid down in their procedures. The procedures said that all complaints had to be signed and in writing...but they didn't say I was allowed to see those complaints! The procedures said I was entitled to a hearing with due process...but they also said the appeal committee had exclusive discretion to decide what that "due process" consisted of! In effect, their procedures made the Kangaroo Court totally legal. So what was my claim?

My claim was in negligence...not for the hearing they gave me...but for writing those defective procedures in the first place! The University was flabbergasted by this claim. They opposed my leave to amend, arguing that in any case my claim for negligence was barred by the Statute of Limitations. Those "Defective Procedures" had been enacted in 1991, over twenty years before. According to them, I would have had to bring my claim within six years of that date.

It's a funny argument, and I was looking forward to seeing the Judge demolish it. If Chrysler sells you a car with bad brakes, and you get in an accident, you can sue them for negligence within six years of the accident. Not from the time they designed the brakes! That's what the University was arguing, and they weren't going to get away with it.

So when we appeared before the Judge to argue leave to amend, I wasn't pretty surprised (given what had happened the previous day) when Mr. Meronek stood up to announce that once again, he was not going to oppose my amendments after all. But what happened next was completely unexpected.

He was now going to withdraw his original Motion to Strike, and file a Statement of Defence! The game was back on. It was all the more astonishing since he had actually won his Motion to Strike a year and a half previously before Master Berthaudin, and it was my appeal of that decision that we were now arguing before Justice Edmond.

I was in fact a little dismayed that I wasn't going to get a decision from him. "Your Honor", I objected, "I  know he can withdraw his own motion...but it's my motion we're arguing today. The motion was argued to completion; I thought I had earned a victory, and I was looking forward to a written decision."

The Judge looked at me. "You should consider yourself lucky and walk out of here with what Mr. Meronek has given you. I haven't made my decision yet, and there is no guarantee that it would go your way if I were to go ahead and issue a written decision."

And that was where we stood just seven weeks ago. Since the beginning of the year, I had prevailed on three motions for Leave to Amend (including the earlier amendments on my Defamation suit for the "home invasion) and won the reversal of Master Berthaudin's decision to strike my claim for the University expulsion. That's four victories...but notably, all of them concessions by the University and none of them courtesy of Justice Edmond. He had yet to rule in my favor on anything since having taken over case management a year previously. To be sure he had given me a "draw" on the procedural wrangling over my cross-examination of Jan Stewart. But he had tossed out my application for a court order on my grade application in Professor Metz's course (that one will be re-argued in the Court of Appeal come September.) And there was one other procedural motion where he had ruled against unfair decision which I did not immediately appeal. I haven't told you about that one yet, but now it's come back in a big way.

I'll tell you all about it when we return.

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