Hassan and State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, FSCO A13-006658

Facts

On June 14, 2010 Alisina Hassan, the applicant, was injured in a motor vehicle accident. He claimed statutory benefits from State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company. Disputes arose concerning whether or not he was entitled to benefits. The parties were no able to resolve their dispute through mediation, therefore Mr. Hassan applied for arbitration at the Financial Services Commission of Ontario under the Insurance Act, R.S.O, 1990, C.I.8.

Issues

There are two main issues of this hearing. They are:

  1. Should Mr. Hassan’s representative, Gosai Law Professional Corporation, be permitted to withdraw?
  2. Should Mr. Hassan’s application for Arbitration be dismissed?

Law

–          The Statutory Powers and Procedure Act,  R.S.O. 1990, c. S.22, s. 6

–          Canadian Criminal Code, specifically Rule 37.7

–          Dispute Resolution Practice Code, Rule 9.07

 

Discussion

There was a pre-hearing discussion held in November of 2013 in which Mr. Hassan did not participate. A pre-hearing date was set for November 29th, 2013. The arbitrator told Mr. Hassan that if he did not appear, his counsel would bring a motion to be removed as Mr. Hassan’s counsel of record. Mr. Hassan was also told that if he did not attend, State Farm would seek an order dismissing all the issues in dispute. Mr. Hassan did not appear on this date. His counsel therefore brought a motion to be dismissed as Mr. Hassan’s representative.

 

Gosai Law Professional Corporation attached as exhibit “A” a letter sent to Mr. Hassan confirming their verbal agreement to terminate the relationship. Mr. Gosai listed seventeen attempts to contact Mr. Hassan between June and October of the same year. Mr. Gosai also attached exhibit “D”, which advised Mr. Hassan that Gosai Law would be making a motion to be removed as his counsel. The letter also asked Mr. Hassan to contact their office urgently if he had objections. No contact was made between Mr. Hassan and Gosai law after this letter was received by Mr. Hassan.

 

Decision
Even though proper notice was given, Mr. Hassan failed to attend his arbitration hearing and therefore did not prove his claim for accident benefits listed in his Application for Arbitration. His claims were dismissed for the following several reasons.

In Mr. Hassan’s Application for Arbitration there are all the notices of various stages of the arbitration that were sent to Mr. Hassan at the address he provided. A Notice of Hearing was sent to Mr. Hassan on November 13, 2013 at the address he provided the FSCO. The address he provided was the same as that conducted by the FSCO during the address search. The notice stated

If you or your representative do not attend at the hearing, the arbitrator may dispose of the case in your absence and you will not be entitled to any further notice of the arbitration proceedings.

The arbitrator was satisfied that this Notice of Hearing complied with the requirements of section 6 of the Statutory Powers and Procedures Act.

Mr. Hassan did not establish his entitlement to benefits, because he did not attend any hearings or present any evidence. Therefore, he failed to establish his entitlement to any claims in his Application for Arbitration.

As a result, Mr. Hassan’s claims for Non-Earner Benefits, Attendant Care Benefits, Medical Benefits, Housekeeping and Home Maintenance expenses, and Cost of Examinations, are dismissed.

Further, the court is satisfied that the breakdown of communication in the solicitor-client relationship and that Rule 9.7 of the Dispute Resolution Practice Code has been complied with, therefore the court orders Gosai Law Professional Corporation to withdraw as Mr. Hassan’s counsel, without terms.

Lisa-Marie Hill is a Paralegal student at Centennial College in Toronto studying professional communications with Omar Ha-Redeye.

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