"Cowardice asks the question...is it safe? Expediency asks the question...is it politic? Vanity asks the question...is it popular? But conscience asks the question...is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because it is right." ~Dr. Martin Luther King

Sunday 26 April 2015


In the term before last, three individuals were sued by the town's Mayor using tax resources.

A critical comment was posted anonymously to The Aurora Citizen blog. 

According to the Mayor, the CAO and solicitor were entirely occupied with the issue for several weeks.

An external lawyer was consulted for legal authority to litigate.

A further fee engendered.

The Town solicitor commenced proceedings
without specific Council authorization normally required.

The  only affidavit filed was by  town solicitor.

The decision in the case was severely critical of  the town solicitor for evasion and lying.

Separation from town employment with generous settlement resulted.  

A third lawyer was consulted by the new Council to determine if legal fees for the action should be
paid by the town.

Fee for the advice was over $8,000.

Fees incurred for the action prior to termination of the contract were  $45,000. Paid from town resources. 

Since then, further litigation by the former Mayor  to recover claimed costs of $250,000 has incurred additional cost. No final invoice or conclusion known at this time. 

The residents sued were successful in defending themselves but not in recovering full  costs. No,compensation from any  source for stress of being sued by a body with the sole function of public service. 

The case may have been without precedent but is itself a precedent. 

The town initiated the proceedings. Resources   were provided from town coffers. Incredible as it was, it did happen.

Forthright comments are welcome and appreciated They may not be published.

Discretion must be the better part of valour.


Anonymous said...

I would have thought that the Town would have reimbursed the remainder of legal costs to those residents who were sued. That would have been the right thing to do. And to think one of those councillors who voted to sue these residents and to continue funding the debunked major is still on council. Sad and shameful.

Anonymous said...

Justice before the Bar - never take it for granted,

Justice for the pocket book - never get it.

Anonymous said...

20:07 - Sure, and give away more Town money?

Anonymous said...

8:20-It was the Town that approved the law suit to those 3 residents. I guess our taxes can get you to live in this Town with a good quality of life, but integrity will cost you extra.

Anonymous said...

This is the timeline as far as I can recall:

Morris launches a defamation case early October 2010.

Morris loses election by a landslide in late October 2010.

The newly elected council cuts public funding of Morris' private lawsuit in December 2010. The town pays approximately $55K for legal bills up to the date of termination.

Morris terminates case in 2011 after losing two significant legal rulings.

Morris is ordered to pay enhanced costs due to ruling that she conducted what the court determined was a strategic lawsuit against public participation (i.e. a SLAPP).

Morris sues town for $250,000 in Spring 2013 in order to recover her costs following the termination of public funding. I think that her lawyer states in the media something to the effect that they may be prepared to settle for something less than $250K.

The town prepares a large defence at a cost of approximately $150K under the assumption (presumably) that they may recover a large portion of these costs in the event they win.

2014 Morris tries to move her case against the town to small claims court in Newmarket given that it was somehow determined that her actual legal costs were closer to $27K... not $250K.

This part is confusing. How is it that the legal costs that presumably ended in 2011 were not known in 2013 when Morris sued the town for $250K ? Why were the costs finally confirmed in 2014 presumably after the town had demanded proof of costs being claimed by Morris ?

Is the town going to court in a few weeks (in late May) or has this case been settled out of court ? Did Morris ever file her legal position as is required by the rules of procedure ? I assume so.

How can it be argued in one case that the SLAPP lawsuit was "at all times a private lawsuit" and then argued by the same person trying to recover costs that the case was at all times "a government action" (or words to that effect)? Can you have it both ways despite the fact that government's can't legally sue for defamation according to the Charter of Rights and according to the Town's Code of Conduct government can not be used for personal gain ?

There are so many questions and so few answers. With any luck our local reporters may shed some light on these issues in the very near future. The public has a right to know where their money is going and how their public resources are being defended.

Anonymous said...

Correction Required: This part is confusing. "How is it that the legal costs that presumably ended in 2011 were not known in 2013 when Morris sued the town for $250K ? Why were the costs finally confirmed in 2014 presumably after the town had demanded proof of costs being claimed by Morris ?"

The case was terminated in 2011 but the final court ruling did not occur until early 2013. That said, all legal costs should have been known when the town was sued in the spring of 2013 ! In any case, I don't know why the costs were not known until later in 2014.