Crawley MacKewn Brush

Ontario

Review

Dispute resolution

A Toronto boutique with a distinct focus on securities and regulatory actions, Crawley MacKewn Brush is seeing its profile swiftly elevating in the eyes of peers and its work appreciated immensely by vocal clients. “They really stand out for that they do,” observes one peer. Clients turn out in full throat to sing the praise of the firm and its individual practitioners. One sums up the collective as “Smart. Attentive. Efficient. Formidable.” Another confirms, “I've worked with Crawley MacKewn on matters ranging from employment termination to regulatory to complex commercial litigation. They have a great team. They are highly responsive professionals with creative and pragmatic business solutions to disputes. I also find that the firm is appropriately leveraged in terms of professionals. It is quite capable of taking on cases opposite large law firms with one-half (or less) assigned to each file.” One of Canada’s top mediators also weighs in: “As a mediator, I experience many firms across Canada, both large and boutique. This firm is at the forefront in securities litigation and regulatory matters. I like their passion and their aggression, innovation, timeline focus, accessibility and level of detail.” 

     All three name partners elicit generous peer and client praise. Often appearing in the defense capacity, Alistair Crawley is actually acting for the plaintiff in a securities class action seeking damages relating to the collapse of a high-risk exchange-traded fund that attempted to earn income from the purchase and sale of volatility futures. The plaintiff seeks damages for negligent design and management of these funds. The case achieved certification as a class action, and an appeal by the defendant to the Supreme Court of Canada was denied. Crawley and Melissa MacKewn act for the former CEO of Bridging Finance, an alternative lender that has since become bedeviled by allegations of fraud. The former CEO was terminated from his position after the Ontario Securities Commission(OSC) had appointed a receiver. He is subject to a continuing OSC investigation, and the receiver has threatened civil proceedings. A client raves on MacKewn’s behalf, “Melissa is extremely thorough, smart, responsive, has an excellent command of the subject matter, litigation skill, and understanding of client expectation/requirements. She is very cool under pressure and can defuse a crisis. She always puts in whatever work is necessary to get the job done well, and on time.Crawley and Robert Brush represent Chubb Insurance Company of Canada and Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, two defendants in a $400 million claim commenced by TD Bank arising out of a $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme perpetrated by a lawyer in Florida who was sentenced to prison time for his role in the scheme. After a jury awarded one of the victims substantial damages against TD, the bank settled the remaining civil claims, paying an aggregate amount of just over $443 million. TD seeks to recover $400 million from its insurers. Brush also represents three of four successful entrepreneurs who formed a partnership at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic to source, manufacture and supply ventilators, which were in short supply in Canada. Upon the entity securing a lucrative contract from the Canadian government, these three partners then found themselves being edged out of the partnership by the fourth, who outright denied there even was a partnership. The ensuing lawsuit involves allegations of both breach of partnership duties and oppression. In another COVID-related matter, Kate McGrann was appointed co-lead counsel to the Ontario Long-Term Care COVID-19 Commission with a mandate to investigate the spread of COVID-19 within long-term care homes and to recommend ways to prevent a future problem.The final report was submitted on April 30, 2021. According to the Senior Secretariat Counsel to the Commission, “Kate’s work as lead Commission Counsel demonstrated that she is courageous, open to challenge, and produces excellent results. Her achievements on this project are all the more remarkable because she is relatively young to have played a leading role in a major provincial Commission.McGrann had also previously been appointed as lead counsel on a major municipal inquiry. A colleague in that inquiry testifies, “While that inquiry ended in 2020, Kate nevertheless followed through with appearances and presentations to groups interested in that inquiry's recommendations. It was not possible for her to be paid for any of these appearances but she volunteered her time to appear on panels to explain and develop the Commission's recommendations.I thought her ability to lead a team and avoid personnel problems that are typical in these types of efforts was outstanding.”