Canada, Drinking, Trials

Here’s One Way To Get A Big Bonus From Your Firm

Michelle Marie Danicek

Sometimes law firm outings can get pretty crazy. It seems like this is especially true in Canada. Who would have thought, eh?

Last month, we wrote about a bottles-and-models party in Toronto that led to one associate losing his Canadian cookies in a cab, and a partner allegedly grinding (inappropriately) on female associates. Maybe those ladies just needed thicker skins or, in that case, booties?

Meanwhile, as we mentioned briefly this morning, a female lawyer in Vancouver did not have a thick enough head. In 2001, Michelle Marie Danicek, then 32, was a law clerk at Alexander Holburn Beaudin & Lang LLP. According to the Vancouver Sun, in April 2001 she went out dancing at the Bar None nightclub, after a firm-sponsored associates’ dinner at an oyster house.

As many of you know, lawyers are not always the best dancers. The lawyers got their grooves on, and one of Danicek’s fellow maladroit associates stumbled into her, perhaps while he was doing the “running man” (that seems Canadian).

This caused her to fall to the ground — and sustain a $6 million injury….

From the Sun:

Around 12:30 a.m., Danicek was dancing behind colleague Jeremy Martin Poole when Poole stumbled and fell backwards, landing on Danicek and causing her to hit her head on the floor. Both Danicek and Poole had been drinking.

Danicek weighed 110 pounds at the time. Poole, who is now a partner at the firm, looks significantly heavier.

Danicek appeared to lose consciousness for a few moments, and then Poole and another man took her to St. Paul’s Hospital in a taxi.

Worst law firm outing ever? (And that’s saying something, given the competition.)

Counsel for Danicek claimed that while her injuries seemed minor at first, more significant problems soon emerged, including nausea, vomiting, persistent and severe headaches and cognitive deficits such as poor memory and illegible handwriting. Danicek took eight months off work.

Upon her return in December 2001, Danicek took up to 30 Advils a day to cope with headaches and believed she had a cognitive deficit, according to the documents.

After a car accident that exacerbated her injuries, Danicek filed a personal injury lawsuit against Poole and the firm, as well as the people who rear-ended her car, for her brain damage. At 30 Advils a day, perhaps she should have proactively sued for liver damage, too.

The case took many years to make its way though the courts but was resolved this week. Danicek was awarded $1 million for her injuries and past loss of income, and $5 million in loss of future earnings. The National Post was impressed by this “glimpse into the potential lifetime earnings of a promising lawyer.”

Indeed, non-brain-damaged lawyers can make a lot of money in their lives. During the course of her lawsuit, the firm terminated Danicek, but it seems she did not do so bad monetarily in the end.

Meanwhile, ATL readers, be careful at firm dance parties. And be especially careful when you party with your colleagues from the Great White North. They’re a wild bunch.

$6 million awarded to patron injured at Vancouver nightclub [Vancouver Sun]
B.C. woman awarded $6M after dance floor mishap ends legal dreams [The Star]
Lawyer wins $6M after fall on dance floor [The National Post]

Earlier: Partner of the Day, Eh: Canadian Lawyer Sues Two of His Former Associates

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