A multi-million greenback wrongful dismissal and defamation trial collapsed due to the conduct of the lawyer representing former Edmonton Northlands cashiers, court docket paperwork present.
This week, CBC Information opposed an software to completely seal affidavits plaintiffs had filed about Glenda Pidde, who represented 19 fired Northlands parking companies cashiers for greater than six years, and a publication ban on a mistrial software.
“The general public has a proper to know concerning the causes for the result of the case,” mentioned CBC lawyer Tess Layton throughout oral arguments Wednesday.
Six sworn affidavits have been ready. The plaintiffs’ new lawyer requested Courtroom of Queen’s Bench Justice Tom Rothwell to completely seal the paperwork and to order a publication ban on their mistrial software.
Arguing on behalf of the plaintiffs, lawyer Philip Prowse mentioned the affidavits might embarrass Pidde. He described her conduct as “atrocious” and “nothing even near skilled.”
On Friday, Justice Rothwell determined in favor of the CBC, dismissing the plaintiff’s request for a publication ban and sealing order.
“Sustaining the open court docket precept doesn’t pose a severe threat to her privateness or endanger her bodily or psychological well being,” Rothwell mentioned.
No trial preparation
The plaintiffs claimed of their sworn affidavits that they have been by no means correctly ready for trial.
They described assembly with Pidde on March 6 on the Edmonton Inn. The lawyer demanded the group act as cheerleaders by repeatedly chanting, “We’re gonna win.”
On March 17, the group met on the Victoria golf course. Angela Pegg, in her affidavit, claimed the lawyer offered no trial preparation.
“[Pidde] wished us to face in a circle round her whereas stomping our toes. She wished the plaintiffs to name her ‘The Basic,'” Pegg mentioned.
Plaintiff Janet Roberts claimed in her affidavit that Pidde “danced to music for many of the assembly.”
At 11:29 pm the night time earlier than the trial started, Pidde despatched Pegg an electronic mail saying she was taking marijuana capsules and requested Pegg to provide her a wake-up name the subsequent morning.
Round midnight, Pidde despatched one other electronic mail, saying she had began ingesting wine.
“If I scent of alcohol or seem stoned, inform me. Deliver gum or mouthwash when you suppose it’s going to assist,” she mentioned.
On the primary full day of the trial, Pidde made a wide-ranging opening assertion that included accusations that Northlands had destroyed proof, and lied to its staff and the general public about what occurred.
The choose persistently reminded her to deal with the lawyer representing Northlands with skilled respect.
If I scent of alcohol or seem stoned, inform me.– Glenda Pidde in an electronic mail
After court docket ended for the day, Pegg drove Pidde dwelling.
She claimed Pidde requested to cease at a liquor retailer, the place she purchased a bottle of wine, and a marijuana dispensary, the place she bought 20 packs of edibles and three cans of marijuana-infused drinks.
Plaintiffs fed up with lawyer’s conduct
By Day 3 of the trial, the plaintiffs had had sufficient.
Plenty of them determined to write down a observe to the choose, asking to talk to him about their lawyer’s conduct.
“Ms. Pidde didn’t wish to communicate to us and I didn’t know what to do,” Roberts mentioned.
Afterward, outdoors the courtroom, Pidde tried intimidating her by twice bumping her chest into that of Roberts, she mentioned.
“Ms. Pidde was erratic and offended,” Roberts mentioned.
She mentioned Pidde snatched the primary observe Roberts tried handy to the clerk and crumpled it up, however Roberts wrote one other observe that was handed alongside to the choose.
In her affidavit, Pegg connected a replica of an electronic mail Pidde despatched her on March 31.
“I will likely be asking the Justice to withdraw me as your counsel at 1:30…You’ve harm me, abused and embarrassed me in a court docket of regulation. I’m performed,” Pidde mentioned within the electronic mail.
When the choose gave Pidde time to talk to her shoppers outdoors the courtroom, Roberts mentioned Pidde advised her shoppers to “F—ok off,” then entered the court docket and advised Justice Rothwell that she wished off the case.
“Ms. Pidde quitting in the course of trial made me really feel anxious, confused and scared. I didn’t know whether or not I, together with the opposite plaintiffs, could be given a good trial,” Roberts wrote.
After the trial collapsed, Pidde continued to ship Roberts “weird, racist, threatening textual content messages.”
The Regulation Society of Alberta was unable to say if it has obtained any complaints about Pidde or if her conduct is being investigated.
Civil lawsuit now on maintain
On Friday afternoon, the lawyer representing Northlands urged Justice Rothwell to declare an adjournment.
The plaintiffs’ lawyer desires a mistrial and a brand new choose.
Rothwell mentioned he’ll subject a written determination, doubtless in July.