A Kamloops personal injury case exhibits the dangers in pursuing legal services from unqualified representatives.
When Mr. Pavlovic, of Kamloops B.C. decided to sue Canadian Tire after he sustained lacerations from operating a grinder that “exploded” on him, he hired the services of Ms. Jobbagy, with Ardon Bay Industries-Pacific Credit Services (“Pacific Credit”), to assist him with his personal injury claim.
Mr. Pavlovic was able to negotiate at $18,000 settlement for the damage to his hand and kitchen following the incident. However, his settlement was very much in jeopardy when Ms. Jobbagy failed to advise him that the manufacturer should be named in the suit. Instead, Canadian Tire added the manufacturer to the suit, that was ultimately settled before trial.
Pacific Credit then pursued Mr. Pavlovic for his unpaid bill amounting to $3571.92.
The Honourable Judge L.S. Marchand found, in his Reasons for Judgement (Feburary 3, 2015), that Mr. Pavlovic did indeed contract for Pacific Credit’s services, and did not just receive assistance “as a friend”. However, Ms. Jobbagy overstepped her services into the realm of legal advice.
Ms. Jobbagy tried to describe her actions as those of an assistant or secretary, placing Mr. Pavlovic in the prime seat of responsibility for the case. However, the judge found she over-stepped her bounds by drafting, reviewing and finalizing the Notice of Claim, gathering medical evidence, completing legal research and preparing both documents and testimony of Mr. Pavlovic.
Judge Marchand was able to determine the case on the basis of file materials, rather than the unreliable and discredited evidence of both Ms. Jobbagy and Mr. Pavlovic. “This is one of those rare and unfortunate cases where I found both witnesses to lack credibility and reliability. I did not believe either of them”, stated the Judge.
“Mr. Pavlovic appeared to me to be tailoring his evidence to suit his needs but he could not keep straight whether it was better for him to say that Ms. Jobbagy did “everything” or “nothing”.” Ms. Jobbagy’s testimony was likewise self-serving, and did not match objective evidence.
Ultimately, the Judge in this case dismissed the company’s claim for payment on their account as a consequence for engaging in the unauthorized practice of law.
‘It goes without saying that the prohibition against non-lawyers engaging in the practice of law is designed to protect the public. Without the prohibition, vulnerable parties with important legal rights and financial and other interests at stake could be irreparably harmed by people with no legal training, no Code of Professional Conduct and no errors and omissions insurance.”
Moreover, no penalties, fees, costs, or expenses were awarded to Mr. Pavlovic, due to his lack of honesty in his testimony.
Judge Marchand also asked the Court Registry to provide these Reasons for Judgement to the Law Society, in order that they pursue further action against Ms. Jobbagy as they see fit.
During the trial, Ms. Jobbagy acknowledged that Pacific Credit sued her for misappropriating a very substantial amount of money from the company. In 2013, she signed a Consent Order that she pay Pacific Credit in the amount of $105,000 plus $1,000 in costs.
Jayne Embree, M.A.
Jayne holds a Masters in Psychology and is a highly experienced Divorce Coach and Child Specialist. Currently on sabbatical, Jayne is conducting research in the area of family dynamics and parental conflict, and reporting for legal news.