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Counsel Notes: Settling without instructions - don't
January 28, 2014

Counsel Notes: Settling without instructions – don’t

Stories are still told of certain lawyers that used to settle claims in bulk, then go back to their clients and advise them of their good fortune, dividing up the total settlement as the lawyer saw fit.  That was supposed to be a thing of the past. Lawyers must have instructions to settle claims but apparently that rule is not always abided by.  In an October 2013 decision out of Ontario, plaintiff’s counsel accepted a $12k offer to settle a claim on behalf of his client.  He had failed to pass the offer along to the client for months and then decided he would accept it, presumably hoping he could convince the client to take it after the fact.

The Court refused to enforce the settlement against the plaintiff but awarded substantial indemnity costs to both the plaintiff and the defendant, payable by the offending lawyer.

Read the decision:  Srajeldin v. Ramsumeer, 2013 ONSC 6178

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