Tom Newnham

Tom Newnham

Tom practices exclusively in insurance defence litigation.  Tom has a diverse practice including complex personal injury, professional negligence, medical malpractice, professional discipline/regulatory investigations, liquor liability, sports and recreation liability, municipal liability, and coverage matters.

Tom has appeared at all levels of court in British Columbia.  He has also represented clients in court proceedings in Ontario, Alberta, and Manitoba.

Tom regularly presents at conferences and seminars for insurance industry groups.

Tom’s representative work includes:

Complex Personal Injury

Tom has extensive experience defending a variety of complex personal injury claims including traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, orthopedic and psychological injuries, chronic pain, and wrongful death claims.  Tom regularly handles claims for catastrophic injuries where policy limits are at risk and he understands the complexities of handling such claims.  Tom is adept at working with medical experts to marshal the necessary evidence to successfully defend significant injury claims.

Tom also handles a variety of occupiers’ liability claims involving bodily injury.  Tom has acted for a broad range of businesses including shopping centers, retailers, hotels, casinos, restaurants, universities, strata developments, winter maintenance companies, golf courses, contractors and municipalities.

Professional Liability

Tom regularly defends professional liability claims against a wide range of professionals including accountants, financial planners, and insurance brokers.  Tom has successfully defended numerous claims alleging negligence, negligent misrepresentation, conflict of interest, breach of fiduciary duty, and fraud.

Tom also has experience defending professional negligence claims against architects, engineers, developers and contractors, and building inspectors.

Medical Malpractice

Tom has extensive experience defending professional liability claims made against medical professional including dentists, naturopaths, physiotherapists, chiropractors and medi-spa practitioners.  Tom has provided risk management advice related to informed consent and the use of waivers.

Professional Discipline/Regulatory Investigations

Tom advises a wide range of professionals such as dentists, naturopaths, and financial planners during regulatory investigations arising from complaints to their regulatory bodies.  Tom has successfully resolved numerous complaints with the College of Naturopathic Physicians of BC (CNPBC).  Tom has also resolved countless regulatory complaints against financial planners with the Mutual Fund Dealers Association (MFDA) and Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments (OBSI).

Tom understands the unique nature of the complaint process as well as the need to ensure that professionals are informed of their rights and obligations during disciplinary proceedings and investigations undertaken by their regulatory bodies.

Liquor/Commercial Host Liability

Tom regularly acts for commercial liquor providers in all manner of claims including catastrophic injuries resulting from motor vehicle accidents, assaults, forcible ejections, and occupiers’ liability claims.  Tom has acted for numerous bars, pubs, nightclubs, restaurants, and organizers of special events.

Tom has significant experience in defending licensed security companies and personnel who are engaged to provide security services to commercial establishments or for special events.  Within this area, Tom has defended claims for negligence, assault and battery, excessive force, and wrongful arrest.

Tom also defends claims made against individuals who have been sued in the “social host” context in circumstances where the host has served alcohol to guests who have subsequently injured themselves or others.

Sports and Recreation Liability

Tom has represented amateur sports leagues, participants in sporting events, and the operators of sporting facilities and arenas in all manner of claims including personal injury, property damage and facility maintenance and operations losses.  Tom has used waivers of liability, mediation and the summary trial procedures to obtain favourable and cost-effective results for his clients.

Municipal Liability

Tom defends local governments in significant bodily injury and property damage claims arising from all aspects of their operations including complex construction inspection and approval actions, a wide range of Occupiers’ Liability Act claims, negligent roadway design claims, and municipal sewer and drainage systems claims.

Tom understands the unique limitation defences available to municipalities and the importance of addressing the specific standard of care issues unique to local governments including the “operational vs. policy” arguments that are often key to a successful defence.

Coverage

Tom advises both domestic and international insurers on complex coverage issues arising under all types of insurance policies including CGL, Directors’ and Officers’, Errors and Omissions, Builders’ Risk/Course of Construction, Personal Lines, Motor Vehicle, and specialized Property policies.

Tom has successfully litigated a number of coverage disputes in favour of insurers and has successfully upheld denials of coverage at trial.

Tom has represented home warranty insurers in multi-million dollar claims regarding construction deficiencies, including water ingress and structural deficiencies.

Professional Affiliations and Memberships

  • Called to British Columbia Bar, 2009
  • Canadian Bar Association
  • Canadian Defence Lawyers

Recent Publications & Speaking Engagements

  • Speaker/Presenter – Independent Financial Brokers of Canada Summits (2014-2018)
  • Speaker/Presenter – Insurance Institute of BC, Liability Symposium (March 2016)
  • Speaker/Presenter – DWF seminar, “Hot Insurance Topics” (2012, 2015)
  • DWF Publication, “Legal Liability for Financial Advisors in Canada” (co-author with Eric Dolden) (June 2015)
  • DWF Publication, “Liquor Liability Update: When does “just a few drinks” become a “Joint Venture”?” (co-author with Lorne Folick) (May 2014)
  • DWF Publication, “Two Files or One: When Do You Have a Conflict With Your Insured?” (co-author with Michael Libby) (September 2012)
  • DWF Newsletter, “Delay in Communicating Negative Coverage Decision Sparks Punitive Damages Award: Sidhu v. Wawanesa Case Comment” (November 2011)

Tom Newnham's practice areas include:

 

Complex Personal Injury

Property Damage

Liquor Liability

Sports and Recreational Liability

Municipal Liability

Coverage

Professional Liability

Medical Malpractice

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