Settlement reached between town and estate of Graham Hobbs



By Ron Giofu


The lawsuit that was filed by a retired grandfather that continued after his death has now concluded.

A settlement has been reached between the family of Graham Hobbs and the Town of Amherstburg. Hobbs had been banned from town hall and other municipal property following an alleged incident at the Amherstburg Municipal Building Nov. 20, 2015. He subsequently filed the $100,000 lawsuit against the municipality.

Hobbs died Jan. 2, 2017 but the lawsuit had continued until recently when the town received $25,000, which resolved the matter.

“Being a legal matter, I do have to be careful of what I say and how I say it,” acknowledged Mayor Aldo DiCarlo after Monday night’s council meeting. “Obviously we felt the town’s position was appropriate.”

According to the mayor, efforts were made to try and resolve the matter.

“Unfortunately, we could not do that outside the legal forum,” he said.

DiCarlo said the $25,000 will be put towards costs to defend its position.

While the matter is over, DiCarlo said the town takes no pleasure in the outcome.

“We don’t feel great about it but we did have a fiduciary duty to get taxpayers’ money back and we did that,” he said. “It was an unfortunate incident and it’s just not the kind of thing that you want to deal with when you’ve got all these other issues you have to deal with.”

In a report from treasurer Justin Rousseau that came before council on 2017 year-end financial ratios and indicators, it contained a portion which read: “Subsequent to 2017 year-end the claim Hobbs CV-16-23500 was settled with cost being awarded back to the Town of Amherstburg. In early 2018, $25,000 was received by the Town to cover the Town’s legal expenses for this matter. This is no longer a pending claim at the time of this report.”


Mayor relieved after $9 million flooding lawsuit dropped



By Ron Giofu


The town of Amherstburg is no longer facing a $9 million lawsuit in relation to the flooding event which occurred in August 2011.

The suit, filed two years after the flooding occurred, was dropped with the process of dropping the lawsuit beginning with an e-mail sent to the town in March. A report on Monday night’s council agenda indicated that subsequent e-mails have been received since updating the town on the status of the dismissal with the town now signing off on the full and final release.

“The simple answer is relief,” said Mayor Aldo DiCarlo, when asked of his reaction to the lawsuit being dropped. “This is a very large, heavy stone hanging around the town’s neck for many years now.”

Town hall signWEB

According to a report from clerk Paula Parker, the claim alleged $5 million in general non-pecuniary and aggravated damages for negligence, breach of fiduciary duty and nuisance, $3 million in damages for diminution and loss of property and $1 million in punitive damages making the total cost facing the town and the Ontario Clean Water Agency (OCWA) $9 million.

“The Town’s insurer only covers general non-pecuniary and aggravated damages for nuisance, breach of fiduciary duty and nuisance. Therefore, if the litigation had been successful, the Town would have only been covered for $5 million,” Parker’s report stated. “Payout for uncovered damages would have been based on percentage of negligence found between the parties to the claim and was unpredictable. The town could have been responsible for an upset limit of $4 million.”

DiCarlo said the $4 million would have had to have been built into future budgets if it had been a judgment that high but noted it could have ranged from zero to $4 million. Due to that unpredictability, there wasn’t anything included in this year’s budget for it.

“That would have been (a) huge (impact) to the tax base,” he noted, of the $4 million potential payout. “It would have been something we would have had to address.”

During the course of the meeting, Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale wondered if the town could recoup any costs and was told by Parker the town had succeeded in doing that.

“This essentially didn’t cost us anything,” DiCarlo said after the meeting.

DiCarlo added this case was the biggest one the town had faced recently but noted there were “two or three” other cases the town had faced that were either dropped or settled in recent months.


Banned resident suing town for $100,000



By RTT Staff


Graham Hobbs, the resident who was banned from all town facilities last November, has filed a lawsuit against the municipality.

Hobbs is seeking $100,000 in damages with AM800 news reporting that the Statement of Claim says the town’s actions were “oppressive, arbitrary and unconstitutional.”

Hobbs was banned from all town-owned facilities stemming from an alleged incident Nov. 20. His lawyer, Anthony Leardi, has pressed the town for more information such as the exact nature of the allegation.

When reached for comment Tuesday morning, Leardi provided the file number for the statement of claim but opted not to make any further statements.

“I’d prefer not to,” said Leardi, adding they don’t want to be accused to litigating through the media.

CAO John Miceli told the RTT Tuesday morning that the town received word of the lawsuit last Friday. Town council was given an update on the matter at an in-camera meeting Monday night.

There has been nothing proven in court as it relates to the case.

“We’re going to defend ourselves,” he said.