Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut September 19, 2016 - 1:10 pm

Nunavut lawyer ordered to help pay GN legal fees for botched affidavits

“Mr. Brogden not only wasted valuable court time and resources, he put the respondents to unnecessary effort and expense”

STEVE DUCHARME
Rene Laserich, president Adlair Aviation (1983) Ltd., says he will continue to fight the Government of Nunavut for fair contracting policies despite losing a recent legal application. (FILE PHOTO)
Rene Laserich, president Adlair Aviation (1983) Ltd., says he will continue to fight the Government of Nunavut for fair contracting policies despite losing a recent legal application. (FILE PHOTO)

Citing poor work, a Nunavut judge has ordered a lawyer to help pay legal costs for a hearing in a long standing civil law suit involving the Government of Nunavut and the awarding of the Kitikmeot medevac contract in 2011.

In a Sept. 14 decision, Justice Paul Bychok of the Nunavut Court of Justice said Adlair Aviation (1983) Ltd., and their lawyer Ed Brogden, should share the legal costs following a ruling by Bychok that the affidavits are inadmissible.

Bychok then gave Brogden 10 days to submit written arguments explaining why he shouldn’t pay half of the GN’s legal fees—amounting to $10,000 plus GST—for “unnecessary delays.”

The delays stem from a series of affidavits filed by Brogden and Adlair that were stricken from the record by Bychok last April, following a motion for summary judgment by the GN’s lawyer, Vince DeRose.

“I found in this case that the affidavits filed by Mr. Brogden were so flawed that it failed entirely to follow the straightforward rules of court and laws of evidence,” Bychok said in his recent decision.

Brogden was given the option to resubmit new affidavits at the time but “forced on with the application,” according to Bychok.

“Mr. Brogden should have then taken a sober second thought about the quality of his affidavits and materials. He failed in his duty to his client and to the court. This is an appropriate case in which to order the lawyer to contribute to the payment of the costs,” he stated.

“Mr. Brogden not only wasted valuable court time and resources, he put the respondents to unnecessary effort and expense.”

This judgment is only one step in an ongoing civil suit filed by Adlair against the GN in 2012.

In its original statement of claim, Adlair claimed $31.5 million in damages against the GN, alleging the government improperly took the Kitikmeot medevac contract away from Adlair and awarded it to Aqsaqniq Airways.

In that statement of claim, Adlair alleged that Aqsaqniq, which touts itself as an Inuit-owned company, was in fact a shell company that gave the day-to-day operations of the medevac service to non-Nunavut companies.

“The Inuit content claimed by Aqsaqniq Aviation (2004) Inc. [sic] had no office, hangar, staff, equipment, aircraft or infrastructure in place at Cambridge Bay when the contract was awarded, nor did Aqsaqniq Aviation (2004) Inc. own any aircraft, supplies, equipment, nor employ any mechanics, medics, nurses or other related staff,” Adlair’s lawsuit stated.

Bychok’s recent ruling on the affidavits was in response to an original application by the GN to force Adlair to pay for their hearing expenses—totaling more than $24,000 in legal fees, travel and lodging for DeRose, an Ottawa-based lawyer.

Bychok disagreed with the GN’s claim that “the expertise required” to handle the civil suit was “not available from those solicitors in the territory.”

“Any member in good standing of the Law Society of Nunavut would have been qualified to handle this application,” Bychok wrote.

“It did not require the attendance of a senior civil litigator resident outside Nunavut.”

Bychok reduced the awarded amount to $10,000 plus GST, which “might have been charged by a junior lawyer resident in Iqaluit.”

In a response emailed to Nunatsiaq News Sept. 18, Adlair president Rene Laserich says he was “astonished” that the court released Bychok’s decision to media before giving it to the parties involved.

Laserich said he is pleased the courts denied the GN expense claims for their lawyer’s travel and accommodations.

But he disagreed with Bychok’s summary of events at the hearing and says new affidavits have been submitted and “cross-examinations on the new affidavits have already commenced and are to be completed at the end of October 2016.”

He ends with his rousing commitment to Nunavut.

“The North and the Kitikmeot have been my home all my life and its people are my people. Adlair Aviation (1983) Ltd., and the Laserich family, will not quit their fight to save lives in the Kitikmeot,” he said.

And despite the court’s public reprimand of their lawyer, Laserich is sticking by Brogden, a pilot who has worked for Laserich for “more than 40 years.”

“Mr. Brogden continues to have our total confidence and support because he fights and cares for all of us in the Kitikmeot and throughout Nunavut,” Laserich said.

  2016 NUCJ 23 Adlair v. Nunavut by NunatsiaqNews on Scribd

 

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