In 2006 Jason Gavras successfully defended several guarantors on a $700,000 debt. In defense of his clients he argued that, because the guarantee agreement prepared by the lending institution was "so thorough" it created a corresponding duty on the lender to notify the guarantors of any alterations it made with the primary debtor. Because the lender failed to notify the guarantors of changes to the loan the Court agreed with Mr. Gavras that the summary judgment applications against his clients should be dismissed. (GE v DRL Coachlines et al, 2006 CarswellNS 571; GE v Roberts - Tetford et al, 2006 CarswellNS 360)
In 2003 Jason Gavras successfully obtained an award for over $10,000 in legal fees on a claim for the return of a $500 deposit. In this claim against City Mazda of Halifax, Mr. Gavras argued that when City Mazda unilaterally changed the terms of a purchase and sale agreement without the consent of the purchaser the agreement became unenforceable and his client was entitled to a return of her $500 deposit. The Judge agreed with Mr. Gavras and awarded his client $11,000 in legal fees and out-of-pocket expenses. This case is noteworthy because (1) Mr. Gavras made the risky tactical decision to move the case from Small Claims Court to Nova Scotia Supreme Court to obtain cost sanctions against the Defendant which were unavailable in Small Claims court (2) the Judge found that Mr. Gavras had fully notified City Mazda at the very outset of the dispute of the basis for the return of the deposit in an effort to resolve the dispute and (3) the decision resulted in City Mazda changing the wording in all of its agreements to better inform the public (Trim v City Motors et al, 2003 CarswellNS 451; 2003 CarswellNS 452)
In 2005 Jason Gavras successfully argued that a physiotherapist who filed a professional complaint against another physiotherapist was in contempt of court when the complaining therapist relied on information disclosed in a lawsuit in which the two therapists were engaged. The Court found that the use of this information violated the Implied Undertaking Rule prohibiting the use of information obtained in lawsuits purposes other than the lawsuit itself (the laying of the complaint). This decision is noteworthy because the Implied Undertaking Rule has been applied in only one other case where a professional complaint was involved. The offending therapist was ordered to pay in excess of $6,000 in legal fees to Mr. Gavras' client and the complaint was withdrawn. (Ruiz v Colby Physioclinic and Mike Sutton et al, 2005 CarswellNS 456)
In 1998 Eric Slone was lead counsel in a Supreme Court of Canada case which clarified the obligations of employers to workers that they wrongfully dismiss. Before the Supreme Court pronounced its judgment in Dowling v. Halifax (City) 1998 1 S.C.R. 22, employers in Nova Scotia were thought to be entitled to reduce the amount of severance pay otherwise payable to an employee if that employee had misbehaved in some way during the employment, though not seriously enough to deserve firing. This so-called doctrine of “near cause” or “moderated damages” had been rejected in most of Canada but stubbornly persisted in Nova Scotia until roundly rejected in Dowling.
In 1991, Eric was co-counsel in a leading Ontario case which helped to redefine the legal obligations of real estate agents acting in a multiple listing (MLS) system. Prior to the decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal in Knoch Estate v. Jon Picken Ltd. (1991) 83 D.L.R. (4th) 447, it was assumed that even so-called “selling agents” were agents of the seller and owed their ultimate loyalty to that seller. The Knoch case established that in a case where the selling agent has limited contact with the seller, and where the seller does not repose specific trust or confidence in the selling agent, that agent’s primary duty is toward the buyer whose offer he is presenting. This case turned conventional thinking on its head and led to significant changes in real estate practice across the country.
In 2005, Eric persuaded a Small Claims Adjudicator in Halifax to order the Defendant to reimburse his clients for about $8,500 in experts fees on top of the $15,000 in damages that the Defendant had to pay. The decision, which was later upheld in the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, served notice that parties who are obliged to engage professional experts to prove even a relatively small case can expect to recoup their expenses and need not fear having to absorb those expenses as many people have had to do in the past. (Learning v. Glen Arbour Condominium Inc. (2006) 240 N.S.R. (2d) 137 (S.C.))