Who’s Who Legal/Lexology Highlight Singleton Reynolds Lawyers and Name North America’s Best Construction Law Global Thought Leaders from the Firm

Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel LLP is proud to announce that 15 of its lawyers have been featured in Who’s Who Legal Canada:

Stephen Berezowskyj (Construction), Mollie Deyong (Construction), David Edinger (Commercial Litigation), Jesse Gardner (Construction), Catherine Gleason-Mercier (Construction), Stuart B. Hankinson, K.C. (Construction), Kathryn Kirkpatrick (Professional Negligence), Cheryl Labiris (Construction), James Little (Construction), Carlos Mendes (Real Estate), Bruce Reynolds (Construction, Mediation, Arbitration), Nicholas Reynolds (Construction), John Singleton, K.C. (Construction, Insurance and Reinsurance), Mark C. Stacey (Commercial Litigation), Sharon Vogel (Construction, Arbitration). Bruce, John and Sharon have also been named North America’s Best Construction Law Global Thought Leaders.

Who’s Who Legal identifies the foremost legal practitioners in 35 areas of business law around the globe. Who’s Who Legal: Canada is a special report by the publication that provides an in-depth analysis of the Canadian legal market.

Lexology delivers the most comprehensive source of international legal updates, analysis and insights. They publish in excess of 450 articles every day from over 900 leading law firms and service providers worldwide across over 50 work areas in 25 languages. This searchable archive now contains more than 1,000,000 articles. For more information, please visit https://www.lexology.com/wwl

About Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel LLP

Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel LLP is a Canadian national law firm that specializes in the Construction and Infrastructure, Insurance, and Real Estate sectors.

The firm consistently ranks first among Canadian construction and infrastructure firms and features prominently in the delivery of Commercial Litigation, Corporate-Commercial and Employment Law services.

Partner Peter Wardle Elected as Treasurer of Law Society of Ontario

Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel LLP is pleased to congratulate our partner Peter Wardle on his election as Treasurer of the Law Society of Ontario.

This accomplishment is well-deserved considering Peter’s active, long-term involvement with the Law Society of Ontario: he sat as a bencher between 2011 and 2019 and was re-elected in 2023. He is co-chair of the Governance Review Task Force and vice-chair of the Professional Development and Competence Committee. He has served as co-chair of the Mentoring Task Force and Audit and Finance Committee as well as chair of the Compensation Fund, and Professional Development and Competence Committees. He is the current vice-chair of the Appeal Division of the Law Society Tribunal and serves as a hearing and appeal adjudicator.

“I am grateful for this opportunity, and I thank my fellow benchers for bestowing it upon me. I look forward to leading the Law Society benchers, and the lawyers and paralegals of Ontario, in a respectful and productive manner,” said Mr. Wardle. “I extend thanks to my colleague and friend Jacqueline Horvat for her work over the years as a bencher and as Treasurer. I wish her well in her future endeavours. I also wish to thank and congratulate my colleague, Sidney Troister and I look forward to our continued work together on matters vital to serving the public and the profession.”

Peter has built his reputation as a recognized and trusted advocate over more than 38 years representing parties in commercial disputes involving contract interpretation, shareholder and partnership obligations, securities, directors’ and officers’ liability, professional negligence, construction, estates, and real estate. He is listed by numerous agencies, including Chambers Global, Benchmark Canada, Best Lawyers Canada®, Lexpert®, and others. Peter is also a Fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers.

Peter is frequently consulted by board members and shareholders regarding both public and private company disputes. He regularly represents some of Canada’s largest law firms. He has acted as counsel and arbitrator in arbitrations involving commercial issues. Peter has acted for interested parties in a public inquiries. He has appeared before a wide variety of regulatory tribunals, and has acted as prosecutor for the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario.

Peter is a certified mediator and regularly acts as a mediator in commercial disputes. He received his law degree from Queen’s University in 1984 and was called to the Ontario bar in 1986.

Earthco v Pine Valley: Contractual and Statutory Interpretation Collide in the Sale of Goods

(“Earthco”) recently rendered a decision on contracting party’s ability to contract out of a statutorily implied condition under Ontario’s Sale of Goods Act, providing important clarification on the extent to which an exclusion clause must be explicit in order to successfully oust the application a statutorily-implied term. Below, we review the decision and provide key takeaways with respect to the sale of goods and use of exclusion clauses, both of which are highly relevant for the construction industry.

Background

The City of Toronto (the “City”) hired Pine Valley Enterprises Inc. (“Pine Valley”) as the contractor for a flood remediation project, which included the removal and replacement of topsoil for drainage purposes. Pine Valley in turn subcontracted with Earthco Soil Mixtures Inc. (“Earthco”), to supply topsoil with a specified composition (which composition had been specified by the City’s consultant for the project, presumably under the prime contract).

Earthco – whose sales process normally involved a multi-stage testing process prior to contract execution – provided Pine Valley with laboratory reports from different topsoil samples taken roughly six weeks before Pine Valley’s initial solicitation, but specifically warned Pine Valley against purchasing the topsoil without Earthco having the opportunity to conduct its usual testing process. Despite this warning, Pine Valley was seeking delivery of topsoil on an urgent basis, as it had already missed certain project milestones and was looking to avoid the application of liquidated damages by the City under the prime contract. Pine Valley therefore insisted on immediate delivery of the topsoil, rather than waiting for updated test results (in other words, the parties entered into a sale by description).

As a result, the parties agreed to add two clauses to their subcontract, which stated that Pine Valley had the right to test and approve the material before it was shipped, and that if it waived those rights, Earthco would not be responsible for the quality of the material once it left its facility (the “Exclusion Clauses”):

 6) [Pine Valley] has the right to test and approve the material at its own expense at our facility before it is shipped and placed. Please contact [Earthco’s sales manager] to arrange.

7) If [Pine Valley] waives its right to test and approve the material before it is shipped, Earthco Soils Inc. will not be responsible for the quality of the material once it leaves our facility.

After the topsoil was delivered and placed on the project site, water ponding occurred over the topsoil in question. Subsequent testing by Pine Valley revealed that there was substantially more clay in the topsoil than the initial test results had indicated. As a result, Pine Valley had to remove and replace the topsoil supplied by Earthco. The City subsequently levied liquidated damages against Pine Valley; Pine Valley consequently sued Earthco for damages, alleging that it did not receive topsoil consistent with the initial test results.

Decisions of the Courts Below

At trial, the key issue was whether the Exclusion Clauses were sufficiently clear and explicit to oust the implied term established by s. 14 of the Sale of Goods Act, which stipulates that where there is a contract for the sale of goods by description, then there is an implied condition that the goods will correspond with the description.

The trial judge dismissed Pine Valley’s action. He found that although Pine Valley did not get the topsoil for which it had contracted (because of the discrepancy between the topsoil that was promised and the topsoil that was delivered), the Exclusion Clauses met the requirements of an “express agreement” according to section 53 of the Sale of Goods Act, which allows parties to contract out of the implied condition under section 14. Importantly, the trial judge reached this conclusion despite the fact that the Exclusion Clauses did not explicitly mention that they were added to the contract for the purpose of contracting out of section 14 of the Sale of Goods Act; in that regard, the trial judge found that Pine Valley was an experienced purchaser of soils, such that Pine Valley’s waiver of testing meant it deliberately assumed the risk that the soil would not meet the required specifications.

On appeal, the Court of Appeal disagreed with the trial judge, and instead found that the Exclusion Clauses were not sufficiently clear to exempt Earthco from liability under section 14. In particular, the Court of Appeal identified three errors of law:

  • first, in interpreting the exclusion clauses, the trial judge failed to take into account the nature of the implied condition in s. 14, which relates to the identity of the goods rather than their quality;
  • second, the trial judge failed to properly interpret the meaning of the requirement that “explicit, clear and direct language” must be used to exclude a statutory condition; as a result, he did not give proper effect to the Exclusion Clauses’ failure to refer to the identity of the goods or to statutory conditions; and
  • third, the trial judge erred by reading the language of the Exclusion Clauses in broader terms than their actual words and, in doing so, considered the contract’s factual matrix (also known as the surrounding circumstances) beyond its permissible use.

The Court of Appeal therefore allowed the appeal. Earthco then sought and was granted leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.

The Supreme Court’s Decision

The Supreme Court rendered two judgments, with a 6-judge majority allowing the appeal and finding that the Exclusion Clauses were sufficient to oust the application of s. 14 of the Sale of Goods Act, with Côté J. writing in dissent that the Exclusion Clauses did not oust the implied term of that statutory provision.

Writing for the majority, Martin J first observed with respect to the standard of review. that the Court of Appeal was incorrect in identify the foregoing as either errors, or errors of law in particular. In doing so, the Court of Appeal sought to create general principles of law that would govern the interpretation of all exclusion clauses ousting implied conditions in a contract of sale, while also diminishing the role of the factual matrix in giving meaning to exclusion clauses (contrary to the fundamental principles of contractual interpretation set out in Sattva).

With respect to the Sale of Goods Act, the majority identified three key aspects of that legislation: fitness for purpose, merchantability, and correspondence with description, all of which address the negative effects of caveat emptor. The legislation implies these statutory protections as contractual conditions rather than warranties, which in turn gives an innocent party (in circumstances of a breach of condition) the option to either (1) treat the contract as repudiated, or (2) treat the breach of the condition as a breach of warranty and claim damages.

With respect to the condition at issue in this case – the implied condition that the goods sold by description will correspond with their description – the “description” is tied to identity and only protects those terms which identify the subject matter of the sale. In that regard, Canadian law distinguishes between traits that go to the identity of the goods (which pertains to their description), and those which go to the quality of the goods (which pertains to merchantability and fitness for purpose). The identity of a good should not be conflated with all the words used as descriptors, and instead is limited to “words whose purpose is to state or identify an essential part of the description of the goods”. In other words, quality is a matter of degree, while identity is a matter of kind.

That being said, the majority observed that the Sale of Goods Act is equally clear (at s. 53) that parties are able to contract out of these implied conditions, so long as those parties do so by “express agreement”, conduct, or usage (i.e. commercial custom). Given the nature of the Sale of Goods Act, the majority observed that it was necessary to review s. 53 of the Act alongside the relevant common law on contracts in order to determine whether an “express agreement” was reached in this case.

In that regard, the majority concluded that there were no special interpretive considerations that applied by virtue of the Sale of Goods Act applying, and rejected the proposition that Earthco needed to have explicitly excluded liability for conditions as to the identity of the soil. Furthermore, the term “express” does not refer to what the agreement must say, or to the required level of clarity of specific contractual clauses. Section 53 refers to an “express agreement”, and not the use of “express language ”, as a result of which it does not constitute a qualitative requirement about the specificity of language. Rather, the majority concluded that it will be “express” if it is made in distinct and explicit terms and not left to inference.

Instead, determining what qualifies as an “express agreement” is informed by the basic principles of contractual interpretation, such as those set out in Sattva and the law concerning exclusion clauses, as set out in Tercon, with the paramount consideration being the ascertaining of the parties’ objective intentions. This was particular true in circumstances where s. 57(1) of the Sale of Goods Act explicitly stipulates that common law rules continue to apply to the sale of goods, except in so far as those rules are inconsistent with the express provisions of the Sale of Goods Act.

To that end, the majority observed that although the law recognizes a difference between quality of goods and their identity, courts should not impose an unrealistic burden on contracting parties to be aware of, and fully understand, the legal characterization and consequences of the words they use to express themselves, although in some circumstances, sophisticated parties negotiating through lawyers may know all about the legal difference between conditions and warranties.

Therefore, in the particular context of this case, the majority concluded that although the Exclusion Clauses only explicitly referred to Pine Valley assuming responsibility for the quality of the soil, the surrounding circumstances of the parties’ agreement – including the fact that Pine Valley was an experienced commercial buyer of soil, and that the parties made bespoke edits to the contract without the input of legal professionals. As a result, the Exclusion Clauses applied in this case, and Earthco was not liable to Pine Valley for the incompetent topsoil.

In dissent, Côté J differed from the majority in concluding that the Exclusion Clauses were not sufficiently clear and unambiguous to exclude liability with respect to the identity of the goods. In that regard, the dissent the word “quality” in the Exclusion Clauses could not be taken to include both quality and identity, as this would change the word from its ordinary and grammatical meaning.

In addition, with respect to the meaning of the term “express agreement”, the dissent placed greater emphasis on the statutory interpretation of the term (as opposed to the majority’s focus on contractual interpretation), observing that the dominant approach to  statutory interpretation is to interpret words in their entire context and in their grammatical and ordinary sense harmoniously with the scheme of the applicable Act, the object of the Act, and the intention of the legislature. In circumstances where the words of a provision are “precise and unequivocal”, the ordinary meaning of the words plays a dominant role in the interpretive process. Accordingly, and although not explicitly stated, the dissent appears to have placed greater emphasis on plain and ordinary meaning of the relevant words than the majority. On that basis, the dissent would have dismissed the appeal.

Analysis

Earthco is necessary reading for those practicing in the construction industry, given the extent to which the sale of goods makes up a critical component of all construction projects. Needless to say, it is therefore highly relevant.

On the one hand, the result in Earthco is to some extent unsurprising as an issue of contractual interpretation, in the sense that the majority reaffirmed the primacy of Sattva and its subsequent case law. In that regard, the Court was consistent with other recent cases in which it was asked to consider the applicable rules of interpretation in specific contexts, such as its review of the law on releases in Corner Brook (City) v. Bailey. Accordingly, Earthco simply follows suit in that sense.

On the other hand, however, this conclusion also understates the extent to which the majority and dissenting decisions offer several interesting points to consider.

First, Earthco offers an intriguing example of the difficulties in determining the appropriate balance between contractual interpretation and statutory interpretation, where the contract in question is governed by a specific piece of legislation. This was particular true in the sale of goods context since, as both the majority and dissent observed, the Sale of Goods Act specifically incorporates the common law of contracts by reference. As noted above, the majority and dissent appeared to differ as to which of the two modes of interpretation should take primacy over the other in interpreting s. 14 of the Sale of Goods Act, with the majority prioritizing contractual interpretation and the dissent prioritizing statutory interpretation.

Second, the particulars of Earthco appear to have made it especially challenging to draw a clear distinction between the identity of the goods and their quality, given that the goods (i.e. the topsoil) were required to be composed of a specific collection of soils. In circumstances where goods are a composite of several different components, it is arguably unclear from Earthco whether there is any bright-line rule or guidance as to when a discrepancy between the goods as described versus the goods received will go to the very essence of the goods and rise to the level of incorrect identity. As always, best practice will be to articulate this point clearly in the terms of the relevant contract, but for borderline cases, it appears that it may remain a challenge.

Finally, with respect to the majority’s interpretation of the term “quality” as it appears in s. 14 of the Sale of Goods Act, this may also present a challenge insofar as there may be some circumstances in which it is unclear on the facts of a given case whether the contracting parties are referring to “quality” in the broad and general sense (i.e. potentially inclusive of identity), or whether they are using the term in the technical sense contemplated by the legislation (i.e. distinct from identity). It is plausible that parties without legal counsel might have the technical definition in mind when negotiation a contract for the sale of goods, just as it is plausible that parties with legal counsel advising them on the negotiation of such a contract might not appreciate the technical definition – through inadvertence or otherwise – and have in their contemplation the more expansive, general concept of “quality”. As the majority explained, it will depend upon the surrounding circumstances of each case.

Ultimately, parties in the construction industry will need to be especially mindful of the Sale of Goods Act, and particularly the distinction between quality and identity, when negotiating contracts for the sale of goods (along with any exclusionary clauses contained within such contracts). Because the interpretation of these issues turns so heavily upon the surrounding circumstances at the time of contract formation, parties will be well advised to ensure that the surrounding circumstances weigh in their favour.

Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel LLP Welcomes New Associate Gurinder Biring

Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel LLP is pleased to welcome new associate Gurinder Biring to the firm.

Gurinder Biring is an associate in the Construction and Infrastructure and Insurance Practice Groups.

She actively participates in resolving contractual and construction disputes, frequently representing design professionals and contractors in cases related to construction defects, warranty claims and general liability. She also specializes in insurance defence, particularly in matters related to professional liability and the construction industry.

Gurinder has successfully represented clients in settlement negotiations, mediations and trials within both the Provincial and Supreme Courts of British Columbia. Her commitment to delivering effective legal guidance ensures that clients receive comprehensive support during their legal journey.

Singleton Reynolds Named 2024 Construction Law Firm of the Year for the 6th time, Jesse Gardner receives Emerging Talent Litigator of the Year Award, and Litigation Stars Announced

Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel LLP is proud to announce that the firm has been named Construction Law Firm of the Year at the 2024 Benchmark Canada Awards, for the sixth year. Partner Jesse Gardner also received the Emerging Talent Litigator of the Year Award.

In addition, 19 lawyers appear in Benchmark Litigation’s 2024 issue of Benchmark Canada, their annual directory recognizing Canada’s leading litigators. These lawyers were named “Litigation Stars” across various practice areas.

Clients said the following about these lawyers and the firm:

“They are absolutely the first call for construction litigation. They’ve expanded a lot though – they are now doing D&O, environmental, construction insurance for a number of insurers, and product liability…The firm has blossomed into a two-pronged force with a dense combined pool of talent, ranging from senior statesmen to future stars and no shortage of star power in between. One satisfied client testifies, “The lawyers at Singleton Reynolds have a winning mentality. Their knowledge and experience are vast, their work ethic is staggering. They are terrific at responding when needed, and at looking for innovative solutions. They are the consummate professionals but have a very friendly and easygoing manner. Working with this firm is an absolute pleasure,” according to the most recent Benchmark analysis.

Benchmark’s analysis of the firm can be found here.

Congratulations to the following Singleton Reynolds lawyers on their successful inclusion in Benchmark Canada:

Daniel  Barber

Stephen Berezowskyj

Clive Boulton

David Edinger

Jesse Gardner

Catherine Gleason-Mercier

Stuart Hankinson, KC

Robert Hodgins

Cheryl Labiris

Seema Lal

James Little

Bruce Reynolds

Melanie Samuels

Elizabeth (Betsy) Segal

John Singleton, KC

Mark Stacey

Sharon Vogel

Steve M. Vorbrodt

Peter Wardle

About Benchmark Canada

Benchmark Canada recognizes the top litigation lawyers and firms across the country for the significance of their cases. The results listed are based on extensive interviews with litigators and their clients. For more information, please visit Benchmark Litigation.

About Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel LLP

Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel LLP is a Canadian national law firm that specializes in the construction and infrastructureinsurance, and real estate sectors.

The firm consistently ranks first among Canadian construction and infrastructure firms and features prominently in the delivery of commercial litigationcorporate-commercial and employment law services.

Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel LLP Welcomes Kaleigh Du Vernet as Counsel

Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel LLP is pleased to welcome Kaleigh Du Vernet to the firm as Counsel.

Kaleigh Du Vernet is Counsel in the Construction and Infrastructure Practice Group at Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel LLP.

She assists clients at all levels of the construction supply chain, through all stages of the construction process. Her practice involves representing parties in the construction industry through dispute resolution, litigation, arbitration, mediation, adjudication, and construction contract negotiation.

Kaleigh advises on a wide variety of construction matters including dispute avoidance, dispute resolution, contract claims, lien proceedings, payment disputes and Construction Act related matters.

Melanie Samuels: Rewriting the Script – A Tribute on International Women’s Day

Every year on International Women’s Day, Singleton Reynolds profiles a prominent female member of our firm. This year we are honoured to feature partner Melanie Samuels, a prominent employment and immigration lawyer.

Becoming a lawyer was not on Melanie Samuels‘ radar as a child – she wanted to be an actress. For anyone who has had the pleasure of meeting Melanie, that makes perfect sense. Luckily for her clients and her colleagues, however, her parents encouraged her to take a more academic approach to her future career. Thus Melanie graduated from UBC Law School in 1989 and embarked on a career in law, where the courtroom and the boardroom became her stage. With so many practice areas open to her, the fast-paced and human-centric nature of employment and immigration law spoke to her and she has spent her career becoming an integral part of her clients’ businesses and lives, thereby building a practice that she finds professionally and personally rewarding.

When Melanie started her legal career, there were few female mentors for her to emulate and learn from. Luckily, she has always had a strong sense of what she wanted and knew that she would have to forge a path that worked for her, through a profession that was often traditional and slow to change. Melanie’s advice for women entering the legal profession today – manage your own expectations and those of others, and find the workplace that supports you in achieving those expectations. That is what drew Melanie to join Singleton Reynolds (then Singleton Urquhart) in 2010. Here, she found an environment and colleagues that were supportive and provided her the flexibility necessary to pursue her desires to raise a family, entertain interests outside of the law, and engage with her Jewish community in taking on many leadership roles, all while providing excellent service to her clients. She flourished and became a member of the firm’s Management Committee in 2018.

Upon joining Singleton Reynolds, Melanie remembers quickly revealing to her new colleagues the fact that she did not golf and had no interest in doing so. At that time, golf continued to be one of the most common, if clichéd, activities through which lawyers connected with their clients. Instead, with the support of the firm, Melanie put her event organizing skills to work and developed an annual women’s client event. Centred around a different activity each year, the firm’s female lawyers and their clients gather to connect, share common experiences, and, most importantly, have fun. It has become a highly anticipated event on the firm’s calendar and provides an example of how Melanie has always sought to push the boundaries of the profession.

Influenced by her parents who prioritized community involvement, Melanie has not restricted her desire to enact change to the legal profession. For years, her mother—who was rarely seen without her signature Revlon pink lipstick—had collected and distributed items of basic need to new immigrants to Vancouver. Upon her death in 2007, Melanie and her friends wanted to honour her mother and ensure that the work she had begun continued. They formed The Lipstick Brigade, a not-for-profit organization that collects hygiene, cosmetic, and toiletry products and distributes them to a number of shelters that support women on Vancouver’s Downtown East Side. In doing so, Melanie has not only preserved her mother’s legacy but has also expanded the reach of compassion and support to empower vulnerable women in the broader community.

Like any good actor, Melanie has not always followed the script she was given. Rather than accept the status quo, she improvised her own lines. Her advice to any woman starting her career: “Find your fit, the right place, where you feel valued and validated.”

Singleton Reynolds Ranked in Top Tier by Lexpert®

Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel LLP has been named in the Top Tier (Most Frequently Recommended) for Construction Law in both Toronto and Vancouver in The Canadian Lexpert® Directory, with lawyers also listed in multiple categories.

The firm has also been ranked for Infrastructure Law, Commercial Arbitration, Corporate Commercial Litigation, Commercial Insurance Litigation, and Professional Liability.

Singleton Reynolds lawyers recognized by Lexpert® include:

Stephen Berezowskyj, Construction Law (Most Frequently Recommended), Commercial Insurance Litigation (Most Frequently Recommended), Professional Liability

Jesse Gardner, Construction Law

Catherine Gleason-Mercier, Construction Law

Stuart B. Hankinson, Commercial Arbitration, Construction Law, Infrastructure Law, Commercial Insurance Litigation

Seema Lal, Construction Law

James Little, Construction Law

Bruce Reynolds, Construction Law (Most Frequently Recommended), Infrastructure Law, Commercial Arbitration

John R. Singleton, Construction Law (Most Frequently Recommended), Commercial Insurance Litigation

Sharon Vogel, Construction Law (Most Frequently Recommended), Infrastructure Law, Commercial Arbitration

Peter Wardle, Corporate Commercial Litigation, Professional Liability

The directory results are based on an Annual Survey of in house counsel and lawyers across Canada.

About The Canadian Lexpert® Directory

The Canadian Legal Lexpert® Directory, published since 1997, is based on an extensive peer survey process. It includes profiles of leading practitioners across Canada in more than 60 practice areas and leading law firms in more than 40 practice areas. The publication also features articles highlighting current legal issues and recent developments of importance written by leading practitioners across Canada.

About Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel LLP

Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel LLP is a Canadian national law firm that specializes in the construction and infrastructure, insurance, and real estate sectors.

The firm consistently ranks first among Canadian construction and infrastructure firms and features prominently in the delivery of commercial litigation, corporate-commercial and employment law services.

Singleton Reynolds Lawyers Recognized in the 2024 Lexpert/ALM 500 Directory

Bruce Reynolds, Sharon Vogel, John Singleton, and Stephen Berezowskyj have been featured in the 2024 Lexpert/ALM 500 Guide. This directory profiles lawyers who are identified by peers and clients as “Most Frequently Recommended.”

The identification of leading practitioners for the Lexpert/ALM 500 is based upon comprehensive survey work across the country, which has been ongoing since 1994. The process targets lawyers acknowledged as leaders in their respective fields, lawyers prominent in professional organizations, and lawyers otherwise enjoying significant recognition from their colleagues.

About The Lexpert/ALM 500:

Produced in collaboration with American Lawyer Media, The Lexpert/American Lawyer Guide to the Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada (the Lexpert/ALM 500 Directory) profiles the “Most Frequently Recommended” lawyers across Canada in approximately 35 practice areas identified via an extensive, annual peer survey.

The Lexpert/ALM 500 Directory features articles highlighting cross-border legal issues and recent developments of importance written by leading practitioners across Canada.

Learn more at: https://lexpert.ca/500/

Singleton Reynolds Welcomes Four New Partners

Singleton Reynolds is proud to announce and congratulate our newest partners: Warren Godfrey, Cheryl Labiris, Robert Moore, and Evan Rankin.

“We are excited to promote these talented members of our firm to partnership. They each provide valuable legal advice to our clients helping them to achieve success. Congratulations to Cheryl, Evan, Rob and Warren on this well-deserved accomplishment,” said Co-Managing Partners, Mark Stacey and Bruce Reynolds.

Warren Godfrey focuses primarily on general business, real estate and entertainment disputes. Warren is a passionate advocate for his clients’ rights and has experience with diverse contractual and other general commercial disputes, corporate governance, shareholder disputes, injunctions, leaseholder disputes, employment agreements and wrongful dismissal disputes across a wide range of industries. He also has a focus in entertainment law and has worked on a variety of disputes in this area, including acting for production companies, individual artists, and media companies.

Warren has been involved in the successful resolution of many business disputes, either by way of dispute resolution or litigation and has appeared before the Federal Court, the Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court of British Columbia and the Provincial Court of British Columbia. He has also successfully represented clients who have matters at the Labour Relations Board, the Civil Resolution Tribunal and the Residential Tenancy Branch.

Cheryl Labiris works exclusively in the Construction and Infrastructure Practice Group and has a very broad and diverse practice acting for all members in the construction pyramid including owners, general contractors, subcontractors/suppliers, sureties, architects, engineers, designers, and consultants on a vast range of construction claims including claims for delay, disruption, prolongation, breach of contract, breach of trust, geotechnical claims, permits, licenses, and approvals, access to lands, COVID-19, negligent/fraudulent misrepresentation, and surety bond claims.

She has significant experience working on a variety of projects including large-scale public infrastructure projects including multi-billion-dollar light rail transit projects, mine remediations, power plants, and wind farms. Cheryl also has experience in complex construction litigation proceedings, arbitration proceedings, and mediation and negotiation processes.

Robert Moore‘s practice involves all aspects of construction litigation. He has also litigated diverse commercial, professional liability, and personal injury matters.

His varied experience allows him to assist in all manner of disputes. Rob’s familiarity with the Rules of Court and alternative dispute resolution options permit him to develop a unique litigation strategy for every client no matter how big or small the dispute. He is known for pragmatic problem solving in challenging situations while keeping his clients’ best interests and objectives top of mind.

Evan Rankin regularly acts for lawyers, directors, officers, and their companies in professional liability claims and shareholder disputes. As an experienced freedom of expression advocate, Evan has worked on human rights claims in both domestic and international forums.

A thorough, tough, and responsive litigator, Evan has appeared before all levels of court in Ontario, as well as before the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario and the Ontario Securities Commission. Before joining the firm, Evan articled at the Enforcement Branch of the Ontario Securities Commission, giving him special insight into a complex and growing area of litigation. He has since advised clients on the potential impact of securities laws to their businesses.

About Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel LLP

Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel LLP is a Canadian national law firm that specializes in the construction and infrastructureinsurance, and real estate sectors.

The firm consistently ranks first among Canadian construction and infrastructure firms and features prominently in the delivery of commercial litigationcorporate-commercial and employment law services.

Sharon Vogel and James Little Named Winners of 2024 Lexology Client Choice Awards

Lexology announced the winners of their annual Client Choice Awards, and we are pleased to announce that named partner, Sharon Vogel has been exclusively named the top Construction Projects Lawyer in Ontario. James Little has been exclusively named the top Construction Lawyer in Ontario. Special thanks to our clients and peers for their feedback: www.clientchoice.com

These distinguished awards are based on an extensive survey of in-house counsel and independent market research conducted by Lexology. Through the surveys, clients are asked to rate lawyers in numerous areas of client service including: quality of legal advice, commercial awareness, industry knowledge, strategic thinking, billing transparency, tailored fee structures, value for money, responsiveness, and ethics, among others. To ensure that the results cannot be influenced, law firms are not informed when this initial round of research is conducted.

About Client Choice

Established in 2005, Client Choice recognizes those individuals around the world that stand apart for the excellent client care they provide and the quality of their service. The criteria for this recognition focus on an ability to add real value to clients’ business above and beyond the other players in the market. Uniquely, lawyers can be nominated only by corporate counsel.

About Lexology

Lexology delivers the most comprehensive source of international legal updates, analysis and insights. We publish in excess of 450 articles every day from over 900 leading law firms and service providers worldwide across 50 work areas in 25 languages. Our searchable archive contains more than 1,000,000 articles. Find out more at www.lexology.com.

About Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel LLP

Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel LLP is a Canadian national law firm that specializes in the construction and infrastructure, insurance, and real estate sectors.

The firm consistently ranks first among Canadian construction and infrastructure firms and features prominently in the delivery of commercial litigation, corporate-commercial and employment law services.

James Little Recognized by Lexpert as a Rising Star

Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel LLP is pleased to announce that Partner James Little has been recognized by the Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory as a Rising Star in the 2023 edition. This award is given to an elite group of leading lawyers under 40 who have made outstanding contributions in their careers.

James Little is a Partner in the Construction and Infrastructure Practice Group at Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel LLP. For his expertise and reputation in construction law, James has been ranked by Lexpert, Chambers Global, Who’s Who Legal, Legal 500, Benchmark Litigation and Best Lawyers. These rankings are based on comments from his clients recognizing his “keen mind”, his “innovative” strategies, “impeccable” preparedness and “unmatched” work ethic.

As a leading practitioner in his field, James has developed a growing practice where he advises on domestic and international construction disputes, including court proceedings, negotiation, arbitration and other dispute resolution alternatives for a wide variety of construction industry clients. He regularly advises clients on a variety of different types of projects including major national and international infrastructure projects, mining projects, hospitals and commercial construction. James is often called upon to advise on construction projects during the pre-construction, design and construction phases, including advice in respect of risk mitigation, dispute avoidance and claims management. His focus is on providing a high level of service through effective and timely advice and advocacy while managing and resolving disputes.

James is also a committed contributor within the construction bar. He is the current Vice-Chair of the Society of Construction Law of North America and a member of the Ontario Bar Association Construction and Infrastructure Executive. James is focused on developing himself as a thought leader by providing perspectives in respect of construction law in Canada through his work on case notes, papers and journal articles.

In his spare time, James enjoys exploring Ontario with his two primary-age boys.

About the Lexpert Rising Stars Awards

The Lexpert Rising Stars Awards honour leading lawyers under 40 from law firms, in-house departments, and other legal practices. Members of the legal profession in Canada are invited to nominate qualified lawyers who have made outstanding contributions in their careers thus far, with an advisory board voting on winning candidates. The winners were honoured at a celebratory dinner in their honour on November 23, 2023 in Toronto.

About Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel LLP

Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel LLP is a Canadian national law firm that specializes in the construction and infrastructure, insurance, and real estate sectors.

The firm consistently ranks first among Canadian construction and infrastructure firms and features prominently in the delivery of commercial litigation, corporate-commercial and employment law services.

We are known for delivering exceptional legal services. From conversation to persuasion, from contracts to the courtroom, we are driven to meet our clients’ objectives.

Singleton Reynolds Top Ranked by Legal 500

Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel LLP has been ranked in the top tier for construction law (Band 1) by Legal 500.

Bruce Reynolds and Sharon Vogel were listed in the Hall of Fame, recognizing the top lawyers in Canadian construction law. Stuart B. Hankinson K.C. was listed as a Leading Individual, with Jesse Gardner and James Little named as Next Generation Partners.

About Legal 500

For 34 years, The Legal 500 has been analysing the capabilities of law firms across the world, with a comprehensive research programme revised and updated every year to bring the most up-to-date vision of the global legal market. The Legal 500 assesses the strengths of law firms in over 150 jurisdictions, with research based on feedback from 300,000 clients worldwide, submissions from law firms and interviews with leading private practice lawyers, compiled by a team of researchers who have unrivalled experience in the legal market.

About Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel LLP

Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel LLP is a Canadian national law firm that specializes in the construction and infrastructure, insurance, and real estate sectors.

The firm consistently ranks first among Canadian construction and infrastructure firms and features prominently in the delivery of commercial litigation, corporate-commercial and employment law services.

Singleton Reynolds Named One of Canada’s Best Law Firms

Singleton Reynolds is proud to announce our inclusion in the third edition of The Globe and Mail’s “Canada’s Best Law Firms.” In partnership with Statista, this Report on Business Magazine feature spotlights the top law firms that were most highly recommended for providing excellent client service by clients and others in the legal field.

Singleton Reynolds was recognized in the areas of ‘Construction’ and ‘Infrastructure Projects’.

The list of Canada’s Best Law Firms is based on over 10,000 recommendations from lawyers and clients.  The full listing can be found here: www.globeandmail.com

Cheryl Labiris Recognized by On-Site Magazine as “Top 40 Under 40 in Canadian Construction”

Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel LLP is proud to announce that Cheryl Labiris has been selected as one of the top 40 young professionals in the construction sector in Canada, as part of On-Site Magazine’s 40 Under 40 in Canadian Construction awards, presented in partnership with SitePartners.

This award celebrates the accomplishments of young construction professionals who are making an immediate impact by helping to advance the industry as a whole.

Cheryl works exclusively in the Construction and Infrastructure Practice Group and has a very broad and diverse practice acting for all members in the construction pyramid including owners, general contractors, subcontractors/suppliers, sureties, architects, engineers, designers, and consultants on a vast range of construction claims including claims for delay, disruption, prolongation, breach of contract, breach of trust, geotechnical claims, permits, licenses, and approvals, access to lands, COVID-19, negligent/fraudulent misrepresentation, and surety bond claims.

Cheryl has significant experience working on a variety of projects including large-scale public infrastructure projects including multi-billion-dollar light rail transit projects, mine remediations, power plants, and wind farms. Cheryl also has experience in complex construction litigation proceedings, arbitration proceedings, and mediation and negotiation processes.

About On-Site Magazine’s Top 40 Under 40

On-Site’s 2023 Top 40 Under 40 in Canadian Construction have been selected by a panel of judges based on professional achievements, innovation, leadership, and community involvement. The listing features individuals both on and off-site who are helping advance complex infrastructure projects, implementing, or launching powerful software tools to increase on-site safety, and building communities for families to thrive in, and are a promising reflection of where the Canadian construction industry is heading.

About Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel LLP

Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel LLP is a Canadian national law firm that specializes in the construction and infrastructure, insurance, and real estate sectors.

The firm consistently ranks first among Canadian construction and infrastructure firms and features prominently in the delivery of commercial litigation, corporate-commercial and employment law services.

Singleton Reynolds Recognized as a Top Law Firm by Chambers Canada

Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel LLP is recognized in the Top Tier by Chambers Canada. This year, the firm continues to be ranked Band 1 in the construction law category, and is also being recognized for insurance and dispute resolution.

Throughout the research process, the firm received exceptional client feedback:

A premier construction boutique offering excellent bench strength with expertise pertaining to project development, claims and disputes, and construction arbitration. The group represents an enviable roster of municipalities, public authorities and international clients across public and private developments. The practice is frequently called upon as counsel across a range of sectors including energy, transport and public infrastructure. The firm is further distinguished for its work on the development of federal legislation.

A Client enthused:

“The firm excels in giving excellent advice based on deep legal knowledge and true subject matter expertise. Sources praise “Their knowledge of construction law and experience in construction claim litigation.

The following lawyers were listed: Bruce Reynolds (Construction, Band 1; Dispute Resolution: Arbitration), Sharon Vogel (Construction, Band 1; Dispute Resolution: Arbitration), John Singleton, K.C. (Construction, Band 1), Stuart B. Hankinson, K.C. (Construction, Dispute Resolution: Most in Demand Arbitrators), Peter Wardle (Litigation: General Commercial), James Little (Construction), Jesse Gardner (Construction, Dispute Resolution: Arbitration), Webnesh Haile (Construction – Associate to Watch), and Nicholas Reynolds (Construction – Associate to Watch).

About Chambers Global

Published since 1990, Chambers and Partners’ guides rank the best law firms and lawyers across 185 jurisdictions throughout the world. Rankings are based on independent and objective research, and peer and client reviews. Chambers Canada rates law firms and lawyers in more than 40 practice areas in all provinces and territories in Canada.

About Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel LLP

Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel LLP is a Canadian national law firm that specializes in the construction and infrastructure, insurance, and real estate sectors.

The firm consistently ranks first among Canadian construction and infrastructure firms and features prominently in the delivery of commercial litigation, corporate-commercial and employment law services.

We are known for delivering exceptional legal services. From conversation to persuasion, from contracts to the courtroom, we are driven to meet our clients’ objectives.

Bruce Reynolds: The OBA Award of Excellence

On September 14 at a gala dinner held in his honour, Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel Co-Managing Partner, Bruce Reynolds, received the 2023 Ontario Bar Association Construction & Infrastructure Law Award of Excellence. The Award was presented by his long-time Partner and friend, Sharon Vogel, recognizing Bruce’s exceptional contributions both to the law and to the construction industry.

Bruce was raised in Huntsville, Ontario, in the Muskoka district, at the time a small town with a population of 2,000. He entered Victoria College at the University of Toronto in 1974, his father’s alma mater, to study English Literature. He graduated from the University of Toronto Law School in 1981.

Bruce began his legal career as an articling student at Borden & Elliot, the Toronto predecessor entity to Borden Ladner Gervais. Following this he was hired back by the firm as an Associate in 1983 — one of only two in his class of 12 — to work with Dr. Carl Morawetz, the leading insolvency lawyer in Canada and an original co-author of Bankruptcy and Insolvency Law of Canada. In late 1985, Bruce began working with Ken Scott, a leading expert in the area of surety bonding.

These experiences, and the foundational mentoring he was afforded, had a strong influence on Bruce’s path to becoming a construction lawyer. His work with Ken Scott during the depths of the two 1980s recessions provided a strong pipeline of opportunities and piqued his passion for the construction industry. Says Bruce, “from our basis in surety, we developed a strength in construction law generally, and together conceived the idea to grow the footprint of the practice to include pure construction disputes.”

Bruce’s development as a construction lawyer over the next few decades is well documented, as evidenced by the awards that adorn his office, and the list of satisfied clients who make him their first call when they are in need of counsel. He points to a casual comment made to him by Carl Morawetz many years ago: “Reynolds, you’re going to be a great success; not because you’re smart, but because you’re lucky.

Bruce carries these words with him to this day. “Brains are table stakes” he explains. “There are many smart people out there, but smart is not enough. You have to work like a Trojan; but that is still not enough. You have to be lucky!”

Luck is in the people you work with”, he continues. “And it’s in the opportunities that come your way,” although he omits mentioning his role in bringing out the very best in those people, as well as his track record of knocking those opportunities out of the park when called to the plate.

After 37 years building one of Canada’s premiere construction practice groups, Bruce decided to leave behind the security of a successful practice in favour of a bright new challenge. And on January 1, 2018, alongside Sharon Vogel, Bruce joined Singleton Urquhart with a vision to create a dream team and establish the firm as the premiere Construction Law practice in Canada, and one of the premiere practices in the world.

Mission accomplished! Since establishing the office only five and a half years ago, Singleton Reynolds’ Toronto Construction Practice has grown from just four lawyers to 20, who represent high profile clients on matters valued up to hundreds of millions and even billions of dollars. And the future could not be brighter.

True to form, Bruce points to the quality of the team as responsible for the success. “Building from a base of four very committed and hard-working lawyers to a platform of 20 would not have been possible without the very strong and consistent support of our Toronto office, and the unwavering support of our Vancouver office, and in particular our founder, John Singleton.”

Bruce also points to continuing engagement and reinvention as keys to his long-term success, and who could argue? Here, he provides the examples of his involvement in the Canadian and American Colleges of Construction Lawyers, the International Bar Association and the International Academy of Construction Lawyers. Not content with resting on past achievements, he hints at the next chapter, which involves continuing his counsel practice while also working in dispute resolution, with a focus on the mediation and arbitration of construction disputes.

It will allow me to continue my counsel work, which I love, and to continue to help build the firm, and enjoy the benefits of collegiality and camaraderie with my colleagues, which I also cherish.” A win-win for all.

Congratulations Bruce on winning the 2023 Ontario Bar Association Construction & Infrastructure Law Award of Excellence, from all your friends and colleagues at Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel!

Singleton Reynolds Top Ranked by Best Lawyers Canada®

Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel LLP is proud to be top ranked once again by Best Lawyers Canada®, with 21 lawyers listed in multiple categories, showcasing SR’s depth and breadth of expertise.

Ranked lawyers are listed in their respective practice areas:

Jane Ingman Baker (Construction Law, Corporate and Commercial Litigation, Director and Officer Liability Practice, Insurance Law)

Steve Berezowskyj (Construction Law, Corporate and Commercial Litigation, Professional Malpractice Law)

Clive Boulton (Personal Injury Litigation)

David Edinger (Entertainment Law, Corporate and Commercial Litigation)

Catherine Gleason-Mercier (Construction Law)

Webnesh Haile (Construction Law)

Stuart Hankinson, K.C. (Construction Law, Insurance Law)

Bob Hodgins (Construction Law, Corporate and Commercial Litigation, Insurance Law, Personal Injury Litigation)

Kathryn Kirkpatrick (Insurance Law)

Cheryl Labiris (Construction Law)

Seema Lal (Construction Law, Insurance Law)

James Little (Construction Law)

Robert Moore (Insurance Law)

Bruce Reynolds (Alternative Dispute Resolution, Construction Law, Insurance Law, International Arbitration)

Elizabeth (Betsy) Segal (Construction Law, Corporate and Commercial Litigation, Insurance Law)

John Singleton, K.C. (Alternative Dispute Resolution, Construction Law, Corporate and Commercial Litigation, Insurance Law, Product Liability Law, Public Procurement Law, Transportation Law)

Mark Stacey (Corporate and Commercial Litigation)

Sharon Vogel (Administrative and Public Law, Construction Law, Corporate and Commercial Litigation, Insurance Law, Public Procurement Law)

Steve M. Vorbrodt (Construction Law, Insurance Law)

Peter Wardle (Alternative Dispute Resolution, Corporate and Commercial Litigation, Director and Officer Liability Practice, Professional Malpractice Law, Securities Law)

2024 “Ones to Watch”

Quinlan Winton (Corporate Law)

About Best Lawyers®

Best Lawyers® has published their list for over three decades, with the first international list published in 2006. Since then, it has grown to provide lists in over 65 countries. Lawyers on The Best Lawyers in Canada® list are divided by geographic region and practice areas. They are reviewed by their peers on the basis of professional expertise, and undergo an authentication process to make sure they are in current practice and in good standing.

About Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel LLP

Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel LLP is a Canadian national law firm that specializes in the construction and infrastructure, insurance, and real estate sectors.

The firm consistently ranks first among Canadian construction and infrastructure firms and features prominently in the delivery of commercial litigation, corporate-commercial and employment law services.

Singleton Reynolds Welcomes New Associates

Singleton Reynolds is pleased to announce the arrival of seven new Associates to the firm.

Lauren Dinwoodie headshotLauren Dinwoodie is an Associate in the Commercial and Business Litigation, and Construction and Infrastructure Law Practice Groups. She maintains a broad litigation practice, with a particular focus on shareholder disputes, construction and estate litigation, and commercial leasing disputes.

 

 

 

Erik Grobler is an Associate in the Commercial and Business Litigation and Insurance Practice Groups. He recently moved to British Columbia from South Africa, where he practiced as both a solicitor and barrister in various fields of law, most notably commercial and business litigation.

 

 

 

Sohil Heydari headshotSohil Heydari is an Associate in the Construction and Infrastructure, Insurance, Employment, and Entertainment Law Practice Groups. He handles complex contractual disputes, related to construction claims for compensation, delays, extra work, and builders’ lien issues. He also has experience with insurance issues such as coverage and subrogation claims, as well as various employment issues including wrongful dismissal and work-from-home privacy issues.

 

 

Kathryn Irwin revised headshotKathryn Irwin is an Associate in the Construction and Infrastructure, Commercial and Business Litigation, and Insurance Practice Groups, where she focuses on construction and infrastructure dispute-related work.

 

 

 

 

Nicole Krige headshotNicole M. Krige is an Associate in the Commercial and Business Litigation, Insurance and Estates Practice Groups. Prior to being called in British Columbia, she practiced as a barrister for a number of years in South Africa, specializing in civil litigation. Nicole has a wealth of experience in all stages of litigation and has represented an array of corporate, state, and other clients throughout her years in practice.

 

 

Harry Meiteen - headshot.Harry Meiteen is an Associate in the Construction and Infrastructure Practice Group. He maintains a diverse construction law practice and has worked with various stakeholders within the construction industry, including owners, general contractors, subcontractors, architects, and engineers. Called to the bar in both Ontario and British Columbia, Harry has assisted senior counsel in litigating complex claims for lien, as well as claims for breach of contract, breach of trust, delay, deficiencies, and extras.

 

 

Rachel Poon headshotRachel Poon is an Associate in the Construction and Infrastructure, Commercial and Business Litigation, and Insurance Practice Groups, where she maintains a broad construction litigation practice with experience relating to a wide range of disputes.

 

 

 

Sharon Vogel Named Construction Litigator of the Year and Featured in Benchmark’s Top Women in Litigation

Benchmark Litigation has again recognized Sharon Vogel as one of the Top Women in Litigation in its annual publication. She was also named Construction Litigator of the Year for Canada for the third consecutive year.

The Top Women in Litigation publication’s extensive research process, which encompasses six months of investigation into the individual litigator’s professional activities as well as client feedback surveys and individual interviews, has culminated in the selection of the most distinguished women in the world of litigation. These women have earned their place amongst the leading female litigators by participating in some of the most impactful litigation matters in recent history as well as by earning the hard-won respect of their peers and clients. Though they hail from widely different practice areas, they all share the distinction of being recognized as top players in their respective fields.

Lawyers named to the 2023 publication were chosen through several phases of research: namely, the review of their recent case work, peer review in which we consider how lawyers at peer legal institutions might rank them, and a consideration of client feedback on their performances.

In addition to this honour, Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel LLP also enjoys a number of firm-wide rankings and further individual lawyer recognition by Benchmark Litigation. For more information please see here.

About Benchmark Canada

Benchmark Canada recognizes the top litigation lawyers and firms across the country for the significance of their cases. The results listed are based on extensive interviews with litigators and their clients. For more information, please visit Benchmark Litigation.

About Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel LLP

Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel LLP is a Canadian national law firm that specializes in the construction and infrastructure, insurance, and real estate sectors.

The firm consistently ranks first among Canadian construction and infrastructure firms and features prominently in the delivery of commercial litigation, corporate-commercial and employment law services.