Monday, September 27, 2021
6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Guest coach: Robert Besunder, B.A., LL.B., Q.Med.
It’s been a long 18 months. The pandemic has affected everybody, including people with disputes. Instead of having their day in court, which was originally scheduled for April 2020, the parties to this one particular lawsuit have been waiting, not always patiently, to get in front of a judge.
But that’s not going to happen anytime soon. Their trial date was adjourned, along with every other case in the Ontario Small Claims Court system, and it will probably be another year or more before they see the inside of a courtroom. They are getting frustrated, because until they have a trial and get a decision, they are at a standstill. Their lives are on hold.
Who are we talking about? The Wires and the Ropes, of course. Everybody’s heard of them. The Wire family, and the two brothers who control the family business – Guy Wire, and his younger brother, Haywood (“Hay”) Wire. Their business operates 1,350 fried chicken outlets across the United States and Canada, “Bird on a (Live) Wire Chicken” – their patented method of frying chicken by running 1,000 volts of electricity through the chicken after it’s been breaded is the hottest trend in fast food. And the company started here in Canada, in Oakville, Ontario.
The Ropes? Two siblings who live next door to the Wires in Oakville – Titus Rope and her sister, Dopa Rope. They had been claiming for years that they were the ones who came up with the idea for Oakville Fried Chicken (“electri-fried”, is what they called it), and that the Wires stole the idea from them. Well, that issue had actually been resolved between them. So what is their current dispute?
Chicken. And more particularly, chicken droppings. The two families are still neighbours. Once upon a time, they both raised chickens in their backyards, and actually allowed the two groups of chickens to mingle and cross over between the two properties. But once the dispute about the fried chicken had resolved, the Ropes lost interest in raising chickens, and sold theirs off. They actually couldn’t stand the sight of chickens anymore, and built a large fence to block the view of the Wire’s chickens. But chickens are feisty birds, and they found a way to breach the fence, and cross over onto the Ropes’ backyard and, shall we say, leave their calling cards all over the grass. The Ropes’ backyard became unusable, with both the smell of chicken droppings everywhere, and the occasional rogue hen wreaking havoc by taunting and chasing the Ropes’ family dog, Briggs.
The Ropes have sued the Wires, to try to put an end to their misery, and they’ve done it themselves in Small Claims Court – if there’s anything the Ropes hate more than chickens, it’s lawyers. The Wires aren’t too fond of lawyers either, but they gave in and hired one to defend them – Herb N. Spicer.
Guest coach, Robert Besunder, will share his experience and some tips on how to mediate in an impossible situation, with lawyers (and litigants) from hell, and where nobody is telling the truth, the whole truth, let alone nothing but the truth.
Our guest coach, Robert Besunder, wears several hats – which he thinks is a good thing, because of vanity arising from a lack of haircuts in a lockdown. He has been a lawyer for 30 years, practicing primarily insurance and personal injury litigation for most of that time, and for the past five years has been a sole practitioner at Besunder Law. He has been mediating for the past six years as Besunder Dispute Resolution, and he received his Q.Med. designation in 2017. For the past 15 years, he has also been sitting as a Deputy Judge in the Small Claims Court in Central East region. And, in 2020, he founded Besunder Learning, which offers educational webinars and (when the pandemic is over, workshops) for legal and dispute resolution professionals. He does not consider himself to be one of the lawyers from hell.