⚖️ Getting the boot

To: Hearsay Readers

🥾 In today’s update:

  • Justice of the peace kicked out of office after interfering in son’s case

  • Stubborn man kicked out of his apartment and forced to sell it

  • Founder kicked out of company — but might have a remedy

  • SCC kicks out publication ban appeal, dismissing from the bench

— Dylan Gibbs


Court upholds decision to remove justice of the peace from office

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Gif by news on Giphy

What happened: Ontario’s Justice of the Peace Review Council removed Anna Gibbon from office because she interfered with her son’s traffic ticket proceedings. Gibbon really wanted her job back. She asked the Superior Court of Justice to impose a different punishment, but the Court said no.

Background: After a car crash, Gibbon’s son got a traffic ticket for failing to yield at an intersection. The Thunder Bay courthouse, where Gibbon worked, marked the file as a conflict file so that only out-of-town staff and prosecutors would be involved. Then things went sideways.

Among other bad behaviour, Gibbon:

  • Spoke to the court supervisor to set a trial and requested disclosure on her son’s behalf

  • Told the prosecutor there was no prospect of conviction and asked if the prosecutor knew who she was

  • Contacted the justice of the peace hearing her son’s case and invited him to dinner on the same day as her son’s trial

  • Aggressively spoke to court staff and said that someone should “lose their job” after her son’s trial was adjourned

  • And, when her son was ultimately convicted, texted the Regional Senior Justice of the Peace to say, “So much for Justice for my son”

The Court said this was a clear case of misconduct, not one that was close to the line:

Her intervention in her son’s traffic incident continued, on and on, and on and on … [Gibbon’s actions were] ill-advised and perilous to public confidence in the administration of justice.

2023 ONSC 5797, para 48

Indigenous heritage: Gibbon argued that she deserved a lower punishment because of her indigenous heritage, but the Court wasn’t convinced there was any relationship between her background and her consistent pattern of misconduct.

Hill to die on: The punishment for failing to yield is an $85 fine and three demerit points. And that’s if the prosecutor doesn’t agree to settle for less. Looks like Gibbon was fighting this one on principle.

Decision report card:

◻️◻️◻️◻️🔥 Factual interest

◻️◻️🙂◻️◻️ Legal interest

👩‍⚖️◻️◻️◻️◻️ Acting judiciously


BC Court of Appeal won’t cut a break to man who repeatedly disregarded apartment rules

What happened: Robert C. Mason is trading his apartment for a spot at a retirement home after getting into a bitter dispute with the board of his building. Mason asked the BC Court of Appeal to relieve him from the consequences of breaching his apartment’s rules, but the Court dismissed his appeal.

Background: Mason lived in an apartment building organized as an apartment corporation. Those are like condo corporations but slightly different. The gist is that owners don’t own their unit. Instead, they own shares in the corporation, which comes with the right to live in a particular unit under a long lease. Each owner needs to follow the rules of the corporation and the rules of their lease. If you don’t follow the rules, the corporation can kick you out.

Mason didn’t like the rules. He liked having a solarium and a shed on his balcony. He liked storing things in a fire escape stairwell and under a plastic tarp in his parking stall. He liked arguing.

So, after 15 years of fighting with Mason, the apartment corporation (“MHE”) went to court to kick him out. And the BC Supreme Court agreed that Mason needed to go. Mason appealed. By that point he was willing to live somewhere else, but he wanted to keep his MHE shares. He argued it would be overkill to kick him out and take his ownership away.

On appeal: Unfortunately for Mason, the BC Court of Appeal also sided with MHE. Yes, it’s a pretty major consequence to kick an elderly man out of his home, but Mason brought it on himself. The Court of Appeal endorsed the comments made by the application judge, who put it like this:

Mr. Mason has been involved in litigation with MHE for over 15 years. He is stubborn and incorrigible. Even though he knows full well that continued residency at MHE is at stake, he refuses to acknowledge the authority of MHE’s Council, refuses to come into compliance with the House Rules and refuses to moderate his conduct. … Mr. Mason tenders no apology to his neighbours, nor does he even promise to comply with House Rules in the future. It is clear that he simply will not change his ways.

[T]he Board spends more time dealing with issues raised or caused by Mr. Mason than all of the other residents combined... no one is willing to volunteer for Board positions so long as Mr. Mason remains a resident in the complex. They simply do not wish to deal with him.

Mr. Mason's conduct is deliberate. He knows what he is doing. He does not seem to understand the impact his conduct has on other residents in the complex or, if he does, he simply does not care.

2022 BCSC 1364, paras 95-97

Decision report card:

◻️◻️🙂◻️◻️ Factual interest

◻️😐◻️◻️◻️ Legal interest

◻️◻️◻️◻️💪 Sticking to your guns


Founder forced out of his startup gets another shot at restoring his shares

What happened: Jaden Pereira was removed from his own company and forced to sell his shares below market value. All of that was contemplated in his shareholder agreement, but the Ontario Court of Appeal says he’s entitled to an oppression trial — so he might be able to get his shares back.

Background: Pereira started a company called TYLTGO, which does gig economy delivery services for merchants. The company was already up and running when Periera brought in a more technical partner, Aaron Paul. (Not that Aaron Paul). Pereira gave Paul a 42.5% stake in the company.

It was a pretty good business idea — Y Combinator accepted TYLTGO into its startup accelerator. But to join Y Combinator, Pereira and Paul had to restructure their ownership. Under the shareholder agreement required by Y Combinator, Pereira and Paul agreed to vest their existing shares. They would start with 25%, and earn the other 75% back over a three-year period. They would both be employees of the company. If TYLTGO fired either one of them for any reason, the company would have the right to buy their unvested shares for $0.0001/share.

Through Y Combinator, TYLTGO found an investor. The investor paid $1MM and — as part of the deal — received a seat on TYLTGO’s board alongside Paul and Pereira.

The investor and Paul soon decided Pereira wasn’t a good CEO. They blamed him for interpersonal conflict and mismanagement. They removed him as CEO and then fired him altogether. Most of Pereira’s shares still hadn’t vested, so TYLTGO bought them at a discount.

Pereira sued the company for oppression, claiming that he reasonably expected to continue his employment and shouldn’t be stripped of his shares. A judge at the Superior Court of Justice said Pereira’s expectation was unreasonable and dismissed the claim. He said there’s no way Pereira reasonably expected to be employed on an unconditional basis.

On appeal: The Court of Appeal disagreed with the lower court judge. Sure, Pereira couldn’t have reasonably expected to stick around forever, but maybe he could have reasonably expected to at least stick around until his shares vested. The lower court judge didn’t think about that, so the Court of Appeal sent the claim back for a trial.

Decision report card:

◻️◻️◻️😃◻️ Factual interest

◻️◻️🙂◻️◻️ Legal interest

◻️◻️◻️◻️👀 Forthcoming sequel to The Social Network


Local updates

🤐 Ontario MPP Sarah Jama sent a cease and desist letter to Doug Ford yesterday and threatened to sue him for defamation. After Jama released a statement supporting Palestine following the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel, Ford said that Jama has a “long and well-documented history of antisemitism.” Jama is asking Ford to withdraw his statements and issue an apology, or face a lawsuit.

🤷 Yesterday, CBC argued a publication ban case at the Supreme Court of Canada. The publication ban seals evidence related to the overturned conviction of Frank Ostrowski. The Supreme Court evidently wasn’t too interested and dismissed the appeal from the bench. Despite the dismissal, the Court is writing reasons for judgment and will release those reasons on a later date.

🏳️‍🌈 Saskatchewan passed the Parents’ Bill of Rights today, which uses the notwithstanding clause to override the Charter. The new legislation forces schools to get parental consent before using a child’s preferred name or gender identity.

Beyond the border

💵 Alex Jones is still on the hook for over $1 billion in defamation damages, even though he’s bankrupt. Jones lied and spread conspiracy theories about the 2012 mass shooting tragedy at Sandy Hook elementary school in the US. He’s facing multiple court judgments for defaming family members of the victims. Now a court has ruled he can’t use bankruptcy to wipe out the debt, because his actions were malicious and intentional.

🇺🇸 Donald Trump’s ex-lawyer Sidney Powell pled guilty in relation to the 2020 election interference case. She admits she plotted to unlawfully access secure election machines, and she might be participating as a state witness, all of which is bad news for Trump.