Legal Background and Experience
Don has practiced law in Calgary for over twenty five years, primarily in the area of insurance defence and commercial litigation. Don was a partner at a mid-sized Calgary law firm from 2005 to 2023.
His legal practice focused primarily on professional liability, construction deficiency and catastrophic personal injury and wrongful death matters; including cases involving social and commercial hosts. Don has extensive experience in construction-related matters including cases involving complex geo-technical and structural engineering issues.
He has appeared at all levels of Court in Alberta, including the Alberta Court of Appeal. Don has also appeared in trial before the British Columbia Supreme Court. He has acted as counsel in numerous matters involving WCB-related issues and has appeared before the WCB Appeals Commission and in Applications for Judicial Review of decisions from the WCB Appeals Commission. Don has also been involved in Applications for Leave to Appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada and has acted for members of the judiciary.
In addition to appearing as trial and appellate counsel, Don has been involved in countless Judicial Dispute Resolution (JDR) hearings, private mediations and settlement meetings over the course of his legal career. He has been mediating disputes for almost 10 years.
Don trained as a mediator at the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution; an intensive program offered through the Pepperdine School of Law in California. Don has been fortunate to work with (and receive training from) some of the most widely recognized and sought-after professionals in the field of dispute resolution. With his training and breadth of experience, Don has developed a clear understanding of the dispute resolution process.
Don is known for his strong “people skills” and for having a focused and practical approach to assisting parties with the resolution of their disputes – regardless of the issues or monetary amounts involved. Don is frequently called upon to mediate cases involving complex issues of liability and damages; primarily in the field of personal injury, but also in the commercial context. Don takes great pride in his record of working collaboratively with people to successfully resolve their disputes.
In his spare time, Don enjoys music, art, collecting (but mostly drinking) wine and travelling with his family; and can otherwise be found playing guitar, fly fishing the Bow River or trying to keep up with his son on the squash and basketball courts (usually unsuccessfully).
Bachelor of Laws, University of Calgary, 1998
Called to the Alberta Bar, 1999
Pepperdine University – Strauss Institute for Dispute Resolution, 2018
Calgary Bar Association
Canadian Bar Association
- Acted as counsel in numerous wrongful death and catastrophic personal injury matters; including cases involving traumatic brain injuries and psychological damage.
- Has acted a mediator in complex, multi-party, personal injury litigation matters.
- Has represented owners and operators of large commercial operations and facilities, including Alberta colleges, in matters involving workplace-safety and WCB-related issues and claims. Successfully defended a WCB-related claim at a Queen’s Bench Judicial Review hearing in a matter brought against an Alberta College involving a catastrophic personal injury suffered during a training program on campus.
- Appeared as counsel for a manufacturer of negative-pressure inflatable dome sports facilities; following a structural failure and roof collapse at a large indoor soccer facility in Calgary.
- Has appeared on behalf of Condominium Corporations and numerous professionals, including architects, engineers and contractors, in construction deficiency matters.
- Acted as counsel in several cases involving multi-million dollar claims arising from losses and damages to oil-production facilities and pipelines.
- Has extensive experience in matters involving complex structural and geo-technical issues; including cases involving soils-settlement and slope stability issues.
- Acted as counsel in numerous matters involving catastrophic pediatric brain injury claims; including cases involving the ownership, supervision and operation of private day home facilities.
- Has acted for numerous licensed commercial establishments, including liquor stores, in matters involving issues of commercial liability.
- Has been involved in numerous flood-related claims, including cases arising from the 2013 floods in Calgary. Has also been involved in numerous fire loss cases involving complex cause and origin issues.
- Has acted on behalf of insurers in First Party claims; including matters involving allegations of Bad Faith.
- Has acted in many cases involving complex questions of insurance coverage and policy limits issues; and has extensive experience in matters involving claims pursuant to SEF 44 endorsements.
The Canadian Academy of Distinguished Neutrals (CADN) is a professional association whose membership consists of ADR professionals distinguished by their hands-on experience in the field of civil and commercial conflict resolution. Membership is by invitation only and all Academy members have been thoroughly reviewed and found to meet stringent practice criteria. Members are amongst the most in-demand neutrals in their respective provinces, as nominated by their peers and approved by local litigators. Don was inducted into CADN in 2023.
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