|Pension Lawsuit Membership Bulletin
Telecommunications Employees Association of Manitoba
TEAM-IFPTE LOCAL 161
Pension Lawsuit Membership Bulletin – January 30, 2008
File No. CI 99-01-14589
TEAM et al v. MTS et al
On Monday January 21, 2008 we appeared at court to commence the de bene esse evidence of Harry Restall and Ken Beatty. Both counsels, ours and the defendants MTS were promptly summoned into Madam Justice McCawley’s Chambers, whereupon she advised that she had just ascertained that she knew one of the witnesses. She went on to explain that she is a very good friend of this witness; but that if the witness had a small roll in the matter and as a witness there were no credibility issues, she could continue. She advised however that if such is not the case and findings of fact against the witness would have to be made then Justice McCawley would feel compromised and would not be as impartial as she would want to be.
Counsel returned from chambers and informed us of these developments and the possible conflict of interests. We discussed the situation with counsel and decided to have counsel return to Madam Justice McCawley’s chamber and lay out the full involvement the witness had at the time, such as, responsibility for development and execution of the new pension plan, the witness was also integrally involved in matters post-January 1997 including all the financial decision making towards taking contribution holidays. We also asked for an adjournment till the next morning so that all the plaintiffs could go back to their respective principles and determine the best solution to this dilemma.
During our deliberations on the matter our counsel received a call from Madam Justice McCawley informing us she was recusing herself because of the fact that she had not appreciated the extent to which the witness in question was involved.
The next day counsel met with Chief Justice Monnin in order to discuss what was going to transpire from here on. Chief Justice Monnin advised that although he did not have a trial judge at this point in time he undertook that we would have a trial judge for the September and the September trial dates would be preserved.
As an aside, Justice McCawley was in Europe when the witness list was provided to the court and missed reading it by oversight. In any event, it is no small consolation to have made the discovery now rather that in the course of the trial wherein she would have declared a mis-trial and pushed the dates back further.
Fast forward to January 24, 2008 the plaintiffs received a letter for Chief Justice Monnin and were informed that he had assigned Justice Bryk to be the trail judge of this matter, which is currently set to proceed September 2nd to November 7th, 2008. Arrangements have also been made for Justice Bryk to be available the weeks of April 28th and May 5th in Winnipeg to hear the pre-trial evidence of Mr. Restall and if necessary Mr. Beatty. Chief Justice Monnin reaffirmed that he will continue to be involved as a case management judge as the need warranted.
Given the possible negative outcome to these turn of events we can consider ourselves fortunate that the de bene esse evidence is back on track for April/May, we have maintained the trail dates in September to November 2008 and we have the same judge for both portions of the trial.
We will keep you apprised of events as they happen and provide you with the court room and times closer to the April/May dates.
TEAM-IFPTE Local 161