areas of practice
Insurance litigation | Commercial and Corporate litigation | Educational litigation Catastrophic Accident Benefits and Personal Injury
Debbie restricts her practice to litigation and insurance defence work including defending personal injury, automobile, accident benefits, property and casualty, educational malfeasance, professional liability, commercial general liability, life and disability and defamation claims;
She represents higher educational institutions on insurance and other related matters;
Debbie has acted as trial counsel on catastrophic losses and has provided coverage opinions on insurance matters including, inter alia, complex jurisdictional issues which involve the interaction of the Accident Benefit scheme in Ontario with the WSIB as well as the interplay of Ontario’s S.A.B.S’ with other province first party benefits.
Debbie successfully defended a representative property damage claim arising out of the natural disaster of the 1998 ice storm; She has successfully argued and resolved at either private mediations or at arbitration significant matters relating to, inter alia, loss transfer, priority of payment and first party claims.
Debbie is a recognized advocate in the field of insurance and insured services. She has been asked to write papers and speak on various matters of interest to trial lawyers, insurers, reciprocal insurance exchanges and self-insured corporations as well as universities and professional associations. She is a frequent lecturer for the Canadian Society of Medical Evaluators, local provincial and national insurers and professional organizations including Canadian Defense lawyers and the Carleton County Law Association.
Debbie has represented defence interests before provincial government committees revising insurance legislation.
Debbie has argued clients cases successfully before the Ontario Court of Appeal, the Divisional Court of Ontario and in the Ontario Superior Court.
- Canadian Defence Lawyers Association
- Ottawa Valley Adjusters Association
- County of Carleton Law Association
- The Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel (Admissions Committee Member and Vice Chair, International Practice Law Section)
- Pilotte v. Zurich Insurance – Statutory Accident Benefits – plaintiff’s action found to be statute barred, discoverability rule not applying and relief from forfeiture denied.
- Zabo v. University of Ottawa – Education Malpractice – plaintiff’s action struck with respect to breach of contract – Leave to Appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada denied.
- Baltruweit v. University of Ottawa – Defamation and Negligent Infliction of Mental Harm – plaintiff’s action dismissed – Appeal to Court of Appeal of Ontario by plaintiff dismissed.
- Graham v. Capital Dodge et al—Negligent Entrustment and Lessor Liability – plaintiff’s action against Capital Dodge dismissed.
Selected Papers and Seminars Delivered
- Speaker, “ Ontario Accident Benefits Update ”, The Canadian Society of Medical Evaluators Symposium on Chronic Pain, Toronto, September 30, 2016.
- Speaker , “Procedural and Substantive Changes to AB – What Does that Mean to You” In-house (client), Hamilton, Canada, March 2016
- Speaker, “Interjurisdictional Issues and AB – Insurance for Insurance Client” in-house (client) Vancouver, Canada, November 2015
- Speaker, “International Perspective on Mediation”, Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel, Florida, United Sates, February 2015
- Speaker, “Liability in Social Media Sphere” University Risk Management Conference, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada, June, 2015;
- Speaker, “Insurance Coverage Symposium”, Canadian Defence Lawyers Symposium, Toronto, Canada, February 2015
- Speaker, “Preparing and Eliciting Expert Testimony at Trial”, Canadian Defence Lawyers Symposium, Ottawa, Canada 2013
- Speaker, “A Primer for Litigating Cross-Border Insurance and Product Liability Disputes” presented by Bertschi Orth Solicitors and Barristers LLP and Goldberg Segalla LLP, Toronto, Canada, November, 2013
- Ontario Automobile Insurance Dispute Resolution System (DRS) Review Submission, Toronto, Canada, October 2013
- Speaker, “Preparing Expert Testimony”, Canadian Society of Medical Evaluators, Ottawa, Ontario, November 2012.
- Speaker, “Update on recent AB decisions at FSCO and the Courts” H&A’s AB Conference, Ottawa, Canada, May, 2012.
- Speaker, “Retaining Expert Witnesses” Litigation Learning Day session, Canada, January, 2012.
- Speaker , “Insurance Law: Practical Guide to Expert Opinion Under the New Rules.” Ontario Bar Association, Toronto, November 2010.
- Speaker and panelist, “Accident Benefits – what counsel should expect and how to exceed your client’s expectations”. Canadian Defense lawyers conference on New Rules New Decade – Upgrading your 21st Century Practice. Ottawa, May 2010.
- Speaker, “Statutory Accident Benefits (Defendant’s Perspective)” Ottawa CLE Program, Ottawa, Canada, May, 2010.
- Speaker, “The new Ontario Rules of Civil Procedure and their effect on expert witnesses in court”, Canadian Society of Medical Evaluators, Ottawa, March 2010.
- Speaker, “Update on the Law of Accident Benefits”, presented to the County of Carleton Law Association – Civil Litigation Updated conference, Montebello, Quebec, November 2006.
- Speaker, “The new Rules of Civil Procedure and the expert witness”. Canadian Society of Medical Evaluators conference on Expert testimony. Ottawa, March , 2010.
- Speaker, “Important Changes to the SABS and Rules of Civil Procedure” Canadian Society of Medical Evaluators, Ottawa, Canada, March, 2010.
- Speaker and Panelist, “Revision to the Rules of Civil Procedure in Ontario and their impact on Productions, Privilege and Collateral Benefit Deductibility.” – Belair Insurance, Seminar for claims management and claims personnel, Ottawa – April 2009.
- Speaker and panelist, ” Pilotte v. Zurich Insurance – Statutory Accident Benefits – how to successfully restrict the discoverability rule and convince a court not to grant the plaintiff relief from forfeiture. Carleton County Law Association Annual Civil Litigation Conference, Montebello, Quebec, November, 2006.
- Speaker, “A Primer to Navigating the Congestion of the Uninsured, Underinsured and Unidentified Motorist Cover: ‘What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You’”, paper presented to The Ontario Bar Association, Hot Topics in Motor Vehicle Insurance, Toronto, November, 2005.
- Speaker, “Ownership Issues relating to Research Data and Protocol” presented to the Canadian Association of University Solicitors, Halifax, October 2005.
- Speaker, “Failure to Educate”, presented at Canadian Universities Reciprocal Insurance Exchange Annual General Meeting and Conference, Winnipeg, October, 2004.
- Speaker, “Waivers and Consent Forms”, presented at the Ontario Universities Risk Management Workshop, Ottawa, Carleton University, November 2003.
- Speaker, “Risk Management and Ontario Universities”, presented at the Ontario Universities Risk Management Workshop, Ottawa, Carleton University, November 2003.
- Speaker, “Litigating Disability Insurance Claims”, presented at the Canadian Insurance Institute Continuing Legal Education Symposium, Toronto, April 2002.
- Speaker , “Litigating Disability Insurance Claims”, presented at the Canadian Insurance Institute Continuing Legal Education Course, Toronto, April 17th, 2002.
- Speaker “Litigation for the Layman – How Best to Prepare for Litigation”, Ottawa, October 2001.
- Co-author, “Keeping Current in a Changing World – Clarfield v. Crown Life Insurance Co.”, with David Burstein, ICA News, Summer 2001, No. 60, ICA Education Committee, June 2001.