Shawn O'Connor practices construction, employment and insurance litigation, and has appeared in all levels of Ontario Courts as well as the Federal Court of Appeal.
Shawn has extensive experience advising insurers on construction losses and subrogation claims as well as builders and home owners on construction lien claims and building deficiency claims brought before the Courts and at arbitration hearings. He also experienced with the Workplace Safety and Appeals Tribunal and he regularly advises insurers on Statutory Accident Benefits matters.
He is a regular speaker on construction litigation issues for the Ottawa Construction Association and writes frequently about important Court ruling and how they will impact construction and insurance clients.
Examples of some of the unique challenges Shawn has been able to assist clients with include:
- Bridge over troubled water
Shawn is currently advising an insurer and their insured in a multimillion dollar dispute concerning the construction of a pedestrian bridge in Ottawa, Ontario.
- $300K Arbitration Win For Traveler Denied Medical Coverage
Shawn successfully represented a retired traveller after his insurer, Manulife Financial, denied his claim for the medical expenses he incurred after suffering a heart attack in Hawaii. Despite receiving a clean bill of health from a cardiologist prior to his trip, Manulife alleged that Shawn's client had misrepresented his health in his insurance application. After Shawn was retained the insurer recanted that allegation, but still took the position that the claim was not covered because of two exclusion clauses in the policy. Shawn commenced arbitration proceedings and at the outset of the arbitration the insurer admitted that only one of the policy exclusions could apply. The arbitrator in the case agreed with Shawn that the insurer's interpretation of the wording of the policy was incorrect and that the claim totaling $292,539 should be paid.
- Representing an employer facing suits by family members of employee
Shawn successfully represented the Federal Government before the Workers' Safety Insurance Appeals Tribunal in what has become the leading case on the issue of whether family members of the injured worker could commence proceedings against the employer (Wright V Bradley Air Services – Ontario Superior Court).
- Transferring cost of claims to another employer
Shawn has successfully represented many employers in loss transfer disputes. In a recent case the cost of claim was removed from his client's record and transferred to another employer.
- Refusal to close a commercial real estate transaction
Shawn successfully represented the purchaser of $.5M commercial real estate property when the vendor refused to complete the transaction due to a technicality. In this case, now known as the '5:01pm closing case', the Land Registry office was unable to register the transfer of property ownership on the agreed day due to office closing time. The Ontario Superior Court of Justice agreed that the registration of the sale was simply the machinery of the sale and did not represent the substance of the transaction and ordered the vendor to complete the sale. (888394 Ontario Inc. v. Cornwall Centre Road Properties Inc.)
- Recouping funds for estate beneficiaries
Shawn acted on behalf of a group of estate beneficiaries when the estate executor was using the funds inappropriately and making prohibited investments. Shawn obtained an interim injunction to trace and freeze the assets which led to recovery of $490,000 for the legitimate estate beneficiaries.
From 1993 to 1998, Shawn was an instructor for the Civil Litigation section of the Law Society of Upper Canada's Bar Admission Course in Ottawa and he continues to be a regular speaker on continuing education programs.