Category Archives: Small Claims

Small Claims Court: What to do and how to respond

So you’ve been sued? Things happen to good and bad people. You can be sued even if you don’t deserve it.  However, banks and credit unions don’t care about why you’re being sued, or who is suing you. The only thing that they care about is that you are or have been sued, and the results. This can throw your credit into turmoil, and cause you to have parts of your wages seized. You need to be careful, and make sure that if you owe money for whatever reason, and someone comes after you, that you take actions to avoid these things.

You don’t pay your bills, owe money to someone, or for some reason someone believes so.
After sending you a demand letter or sending it to a collection agency, they initiate a law suit in Small Claims Court. (this is under the assumption that you owe less than $25,000. If you owe more, then they can go to Superior Court and then the costs are higher)

You are served – either through registered mail, personal service, through the mail etc.
You can then respond through a defence ==> This is the problematic area. Once you are served, you have 20 days to file a defence. People need to understand this step. You can’t be embarrassed.  At this point, regardless of what your status is – you should see a lawyer.
If no defence is filed, your creditor can file for a default judgment from the Court.
Once they have a judgment, they can use the enforcement remedies available: such as freeze your bank account, seize parts of your wages, or take other actions against your property.

So, what to do when you are in this situation:
You need to file a defence. This defence can say why you are not guilty of the alleged act, or why you don’t owe the money. Otherwise, it can say that you owe the money, and that you propose a payment plan.
The problem with the payment plan is that the creditor must still accept it. However, it does give you more time.Interest does still collect though.

If you fail to file a defence, and the 20 days elapses, and the creditors get a judgment, there are still steps that can be taken to get rid of this and defend. It just requires more. This is why you should speak with a lawyer.

There are other options… we can speak with the creditors, negotiate, arrange for a payment plan, use other laws to protect you, but this is why you should always speak to a lawyer.

If this happens to you, call my office, and we will arrange for a consultation at no cost.

Employment Law: Can I Sue if I get dismissed on probation?

Probation – what does this mean? Well according to the current Employment Law in Ontario, an employer can have a 3 month ‘probation’ period in which they can dismiss an employee with no pay in lieu of notice. Is this absolute?

A recent SMALL CLAIMS COURT decision has said that this is not absolute. In a recent case Cao v SBLR LLP an accounting firm hired an employee to work on tax returns, and to qualify for her Certified General Accountant designation. About a month into her job, they called her in for a review, stated that she was not performing her job well, and that she would not qualify for the designation by the summer. She was terminated, and given no pay.

A deputy judge stated refused the just cause allegations, and stated that she was not hired on the basis of her finishing by the summer. It was also delayed because of the course offerings. Ms. Cao was entitled to be treated fairly and with reasonable diligence. Even though it was during the notice period, she was entitled to pay of $20,000.

See Toronto Star Article

If this situation happens to you, contact a lawyer asap to review your options!

Small Claims Court: Can I Still Sue?

My company sells supplies to another company. We have been doing so for many years. About 3 years ago, the payments began to become sporadic. We would get a payment, then the next cheque would bounce (NSF), then we’d get paid, then we wouldn’t and so on. I would now like to sue the company to get all my money back, Can I still Sue?

There are time limitations in Ontario, under the Limitations Act specifically Section 4, which states that one has until the second year after discovering a claim to commence a lawsuit. The important term is discovery… but that can be a troublesome concept. If you didn’t actually know that he wouldn’t pay until a much later date, or you believed that he would pay, then you may have a case. Additionally, this may be described as a running account, meaning that you thought that he would pay the whole time and that only after that 3 year period was over did you honestly believe that he wasn’t going to pay.

You aren’t allowed to ignore obvious signs, but you can also argue that the signs weren’t so obvious. IE… if he promised to pay you, and his wife sends you an email saying he will never pay, and he has told her, then you could be held to have discovered at that point. It’s important to know that they must file a defence under the limitations act! It’s not automatic.

The moment that you know that you have an outstanding account, you should hire a lawyer, or file a claim. You don’t want to miss it, and the clock will stop running once the claim is filed!