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Employer receives $11.4 million in damages for former employees wrongful resignation, breach of fiduciary duties

Jurisdiction: - Ontario

I'm extremely slow off the mark on reporting on this case, given that it was issued by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in September 2009.

However, the decision in GasTOPS Ltd. v. Forsyth, 2009 CanLII 66153 (ON S.C.) - which has been called "a treatise of judicial guidance on both wrongful resignation and who is a fiduciary, and the damages which from both" by one legal commentator - demands inclusion in the blog, even at this late date.

Briefly put, it saw an employer who sued four of its former employees for wrongful resignation and breach of fiduciary duties receive a damages award of $11.4 million. The employees had departed after giving only two weeks notice to set up/work in their own company, which competed with GasTOPS.

The judgment is apparently currently the subject of both an appeal and across-appeal.

An October 19, 2009 article ("Case ends in $11-million judgment against Ottawa executives") in Law Times about the case can be found here.

An article by employment lawyer Howard Levitt in the May 12, 2010 edition of the Financial Post can be found here.

A summary of the case ("Junior Employees Owe Duty of Good Faith Too", March 3, 2010) by firm Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP can be found here.