Certified Specialist in Civil Litigation
Professional Corporation Partner
Derek Nicholson News and Decisions
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Derek Nicholson has been one of Ottawa’s leading Civil Trial Lawyers since 1980. In his early years of practice he focused on Defense Insurance work represented several major insurance companies including Chubb Insurance and Royal Insurance. He has also represented many high profile clients including the Attorney General of Canada in a trial against Boeing USA; CJOH -TV and Blue Line Taxi.
In the last twenty years, he has focused on Personal Injury work especially in the area of Catastrophic Injury victims (including those affected by traumatic brain Injuries, spinal cord injuries and multiple injuries that have resulted in a 55% whole body impairment as defined under the Insurance legislation.)
He is the chair of Beament Hebert Nicholson’s Personal Injury Group in Ottawa Ontario. His approach and focus is on helping injured victims recover. He has guided hundreds of Plaintiffs through recovery by assisting in maximizing rehabilitation benefits and helping victims restructure their lives.
Although he now exclusively represents Plaintiffs against Insurance companies, it is of great value that he represented insurance companies in the early years to obtain insight to assist Plaintiffs today.
Derek Nicholson has also co-chaired a program on the recent changes to the Statutory Accident Benefits for Ottawa’s Bar Association (the Carleton County Law Association) in the Fall of 2010. He has done demonstrations of Cross-Examinations of Bio-Mechanical Engineering experts before 400 lawyers at the OTLA Fall 2015 Conference.
Derek is on the Executive of the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association as Treasurer and Regional Organization Coordinator. Derek was initially elected a Director of the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association. He is the Chair of the OTLA cup committee which organizes an annual Moot Court in the area of personal injury for six of the law schools in Ontario. Derek is also a member of the American Association for Justice.
Derek recently secured the largest settlement in Canadian History. He won over $15 million for clients who were catastrophically injured in a motor vehicle accident. The settlement also produced the biggest structured settlement in Canadian History of $11 million.
In 2014 after several weeks of Trial in Soullieres v Robitaille on behalf of a young man who was very severely brain injured, Madame Justice Rocamo of the Superior Court of Ontario said:
”I have little doubt that, absent counsel’s willingness to accept the risks, the social
objective of providing access to justice for injured children and parties under disability of limited
financial means would not have been met.”
She also stated:
“ The legal complexity of the case was significant”
“…. proof of liability in the tort action was complicated by reason of the death of Isabelle Robitaille, who
drove the vehicle in which Christopher was apassenger, as well as Christopher’s cognitive impairments
arising from his brain injury. The outcome was dependent on numerous competing expert opinions,
due to Christopher’s retrograde amnesia as to events leading up to the accident, and the lack of
any evidence from the deceased, coupled with the claims against the named municipality for design and
disrepair of the highway and failure to utilize certain traffic signs to modify driver behaviour approaching
the scene of the accident”.
“The results in this case were undoubtedly enhanced by counsel’s willingness to prepare for and pursue a costly trial to its mid-point, with all its attendant risks on liability.
 For the purposes of settlement discussions at a mid-trial conference, counsel assessed the Plaintiffs’ damages at . . . A recovery of $9,000, 000 . . . amounts to an excellent result when the pre-trial judge encouraged resolution based on a 50% risk factor.:”
The risk assumed by counsel was on the high end given the liability and litigation risks.
April 2017: Derek Nicholson has just been appointed Treasurer of the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association(OTLA). He has also been appointed to head up fund raising and regionalization for OTLA.
March 2017: On March 30th, 2017 Derek Nicholson was re-elected as a Member of the Board of Directors of the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association for a third three year term.
November 2015: OTLA 2015 Fall Conference Cross- examination demonstration of a biomechanical engineer in front of the 400 lawyer conference.
June 2014: Recent Arbitration Decision re CAT determination under the 55% WPI and Marked Impairment Categories – Nancy Stewart vs State Farm Insurance
February 2014: Derek Nicholson won over $9 million in this court decision for clients that were catastrophically injured in a motor vehicle accident. Soulliere v. Robitaille
May 2013: the Board of Directors of the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association elected Derek Nicholson as a State Delegate for the American Association of Justice formerly the American Trial Lawyers Association.
January 2013: Derek Nicholson has just secured the largest settlement in Canadian History. Mr. Nicholson won over $15 million in this court decision for clients that were catastrophically injured in a motor vehicle accident. The settlement also produced the biggest structured settlement in Canadian History of $11 million.
August 2010: Ontario Court of Appeal Upholds Alleslev-Krofchach et al vs. Valcom et al Decision
Derek Nicholson, with the assistance of Toronto Court of Appeal specialist Ronald Slaght, was successful in maintaining his victory at Trial in the case of Alleslev-Krofchak et al vs Valcom et al with respect to the developing torts of inducing breach of contract, intentional interference with economic relations, conspiracy and defamation. A copy of the Decision can be viewed here.
August 2010: Derek Nicholson has been appointed by the Directors of the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association to the Rules Committee, the Intervention Committee and OTLA Cup/Law School Outreach Committee.
July 2010: Derek Nicholson was appointed to the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association’s Interventions Committee.
May 2009: Derek Nicholson and Megan Murphy were successful in winning a four week trial in the case of Alleslev-Krofchak et al vs Valcom, et al. The Plaintiffs were successful in recovering $100,000 in damages for defamation, $100,000 in damages for interference in economic relations and in establishing a conspiracy. The Plaintiff also recovered significant damages for economic loss with the total Judgment approaching $1,000,000 with interest and costs. A copy of the decision can be viewed here.
Fall 2009: Derek Nicholson presented ‘Damages relating to Children ‘ – an overview of various issues relating to maximizing the recovery of damages for injured or deceased children at the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association Fall Conference 2009. The document also contains a comprehensive ‘Injured Child Assessment Form’ and in-depth references. (Paper written by Derek Nicholson, Tania Astorino & Megan Murphy)
Soulliere v. Robitaille (Estate), 2014 ONSC 851 – 2013 ONSC 5934
Alleslev-Krofchak v. Valcon Limited, 2009 CanLII 69322 (ON SC)
Robinson v. Ottawa (City), 2009 CanLII 24641 (On SC)
Atomic Energy of Canada v. Ron Robinson Roofing Inc., 2009 CanLII 2318 (ON SC)
Morris v Sparling, 2007 CanLII 38122 (ON SC)
Swanson v. Swanson, 2004 CanLII 48679 (ON SC)
Bard v. Longevity Acrylics Inc., 2004 CanLII 21441 (ON CA)
Currey v. Currey, 2002 CanLII 49561 (ON SC)
Peat Marwick Thorne Inc. v. Beacon Realty Co. Ltd., 1994 CanLII 1382
M.C v. C. C  O.J. No. 1515
Raymond Steel Ltd. v. Ottawa-Vietnamese Non-Profit Residence Corp.  O.J. No. 1934
TP Investments Inc. Estate v. Beacon Realty Co.  O.J. No 775, 17 O.R (3d) 687
Green v Canada (CSIS)  F.C.J. No. 6, 52 A.C.W.S. (3d) 962
Caremedics Group v. Maziarz  O.J. No. 3903, 108 A.C.W.S (3d) 1050
Bard v. Kenmar Doors Ltd.  O.J. No. 1276
Carleton Condominium Corporation No. 26 (Re), 2010 ONCA 80 (CanLII)
Decision No. 253/91, 1991 CanLII 5384 (ON WSIAT)
Porcari v Porcari, 1997 CanLII 1403 (ON CA)
Canada (AG) v. Boeing Co., 2005 CanLII 22193 (ON CA)
Kinch v. Pyle, 2004 CanLII 48169
T.F.P Investments Inc. Estate v. Beacon Realty Co. (Gen Div) 1991, CanLII 7171 (ON SC)
Wright v. Donald S. Montgomery Holdings Ltd., 1998 CanLII 14805 (ON SC)
Tracey v Tracey, 1998 CanLII 14893 (ON SC)
Stewart v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., 2012 ONSC 2615 (CanLII)
Barnabe v. Touhey, 1994 CanLII 7264 (ON SC)
Maloney v. Maloney, 1993 CanLII 5559 (ON SC)
Bar admission course – 6 years as a seminar leader Civil Procedure:
Bar admission course – 1 year the Law of Insurance;
Bar admission course – 1 year Evidence;
Bar admission course – Ethics and the Profession of Law;
Lecturer University of Ottawa 17 years “The Law of Insurance:” 1982 to 1999;
Lecturer University of Ottawa 3 years “Advocacy” 2000 – 2004;
Chair and Organizer of Expert Witness Examination in Chief and Cross Examination with John Sopinka and David Scott;
Surveillance following Murray v Woodstock, a review of the law relating to disclosure of Surveillance in Ontario, 1988 Civil Litigation Update, Monte Ste Marie Quebec for the CCLA;
Complex Catastrophic Impairment under Ontario Statutory Accident Benefits Legislation: the Desbien Decision – 2006 presented at the Montebello Conference for the CCLA
Recent Supreme Court of Canada Developments with respect to Foreseeability and Causation – 2007 presented at the OTLA Spring Conference Prince Hotel Toronto:
Damages relating to Children – An Overview of Various Issues Relating to Maximizing the Recovery of Damages for Injured or Diseased children – 2009 OTLA Fall Conference paper presentation
Need to Obtain Order for Ongoing Benefits – Tactical Strategy When On Going Accident Benefits Have Been Terminated – 2010 Presented to the CCLA at the Officers’ Mess Ottawa;
Preparing a Discovery to Get Read-Ins for Trial – 2015 Young Lawyers Division, Ontario Trial Lawyer’s Association Toronto, OCBA offices.
OTLA Fall Conference 2015; Demonstration of the Cross Examination of a Bio Mechanical Engineer Expert before 350 – 400 attendees at the Metropolitan Conference Center, Toronto.