Erik Savas

Erik Savas

Erik Savas is a Partner and litigator with Hummingbird Lawyers LLP, practising in the areas of condominium and civil/commercial litigation. He leads the Firm’s Litigation Department and has practiced litigation since his admission to the Ontario Bar in 2002. He is also admitted to the New York State Bar (Third Division).

Career Of Erik Savas

Erik’s lengthy career is distinguished by having served as lead counsel in multiple precedent establishing cases in both condominium and corporate law. Erik has substantial trial and appellate court experience. He has appeared in all levels of court in the Province, including the Bankruptcy Court and the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (Commercial List).

Erik is well-versed in many key pre-trial procedures such as motions seeking security for costs, certificates of pending litigation, as well as injunctions, including Mareva, Norwich and Anton Pillar orders.

Supplementing his courtroom experience, Erik has represented clients before administrative boards and tribunals, including the Human Rights Tribunal, the License Appeal Tribunal and the Condominium Authority Tribunal.

As a practitioner, Erik incorporates alternative dispute-resolution systems like private negotiation, mediation and arbitration to his clients’ advantage. Through diligent case preparation and shrewd negotiating, Erik has secured for several clients multi-million dollar settlements.

Erik is always alive to the often-high cost of litigation from both a financial and emotional standpoint, irrespective of a given client’s resources or sophistication with the adversarial process. He is quick to discern those cases where both parties stand to lose and is always alert to opportunities for “out of the box”, creative and or pragmatic solutions. With Erik, clients receive “straight-talk”, and accessible advice, not long letters or emails filled with complex legal jargon that mystifies.

Erik Savas Specialization

Erik combines this acuity with a high degree of specialization, setting himself apart, as he is among the leading-edge condominium advocates in Ontario having acted for many condominium corporations, owners and property managers. His reported cases have often generated broad circulation and discussion within the condominium industry for their relevance and illumination on important issues. In addition to this, Erik has over the years written and spoken extensively on condominium law topics of interest to condominium boards, unit owners and property managers.

In addition to his condominium law background, Erik has represented a number of housing cooperatives in the Province navigate contentious issues, including the eviction of members for arrears of housing charges or other conduct considered contrary to the cooperative’s by-laws.

Erik has also developed a high-level skill set in representing clients who have suffered damages due to the negligent advice of their lawyer or where he or she failed to act in their best interest. His clients have secured substantial sums in compensation involving matters such as deficient will preparation, failed litigation and conflicts of interest. In addition, Erik has successfully assessed lawyers’ accounts permitting clients to recover unreasonably charged fees and or disbursements.

Erik is fiercely proud of his over two decades’ long track record of consistently delivering elite-level, results achieving litigation services to his clients in the condominium, civil and commercial spheres. Every client receives from him not only sage, but “real-world” advice that is tailor fitted to their specific interests and goals, and always with appropriate empathy, a signature feature of who Erik is, both as a lawyer and a person.

When not working, Erik adores spending time with his amazing wife of over 25 years and their two children who have grown into responsible, yet fun-loving adults. He doesn’t take himself too seriously, except when trying to be a good dad, husband and lawyer. Erik is also an avid, year-round, men’s league hockey player who is far better at socializing with his teammates in the dressing room than exhibiting any kind of actual hockey-playing skills on the ice. Although quite a rational person, Erik inexplicably counts himself as a “massive” Maple Leafs’ fan. He’s been one since childhood and doesn’t expect that to change no matter the ridiculous levels of suffering he’s endured.

Education

University of Toronto, Faculty of Law, LL.B. Certificate of Equivalency (2000)
Michigan State University, College of Law, Juris Doctor, Summa Cum Laude (1999)
University of Toronto (St. George Campus), Bachelor of Arts (Political Science) (1996)

Bar Admissions

Member, Ontario Bar (2002)
Member, New York State Bar (2003)

Professional Associations/Distinctions

Member, Law Society of Ontario
Ontario Bar Association
Canadian Bar Association
New York State Bar Association
Hamilton Law Association
Canadian Condominium Institute (Golden Horseshoe Chapter)

Practice Areas

Condominium Litigation & Dispute Resolution

  • Nuisance activities (ie. Noise, vibrations, lighting, smoking etc.);
  • Restrictions or obligations concerning pets, storage and or parking;
  • Restrictions or obligations concerning unit usage (ie. Single-family use (ie. Boarding room/student housing), prohibition on adult business, cannabis cultivation and or sale, competition etc.);
  • Compliance issues concerning owners and or condominiums making changes to the common elements, inclu ding substantial changes by the corporation;
  • Oppression remedy cases for oppressive acts by corporations, declarants and or owners;
  • Threatening, harassing and or discriminatory conduct by residents to board members, property managers, employees of the corporation, third party service providers etc.;
  • Obtaining court orders compelling the forced sale of units by owners for their egregious conduct;
  • Shared facility agreement disagreements;
  • Common element construction deficiency claims;
  • Tarion common element warranty claims, conciliations and appeals/arbitrations;
  • Disputes with developers and or municipalities under condominium responsibility agreements or similar agreements, including for the maintenance and or repair of private waste-water treatment facilities subject to regulation by the ministry of the environment;
  • The appointment of an administrator to govern the affairs of the condominium and advising administrators on the scope of their administration and any required actions to ensure proper governance and protection of the corporation’s assets;
  • The appointment of an inspector to investigate the affairs of the condominium and advising the investigator on the scope of the investigation and any required actions to ensure proper governance and protection of the corporation’s assets;
  • Property management agreement disputes, or negligence claims against property management firms and or managers;
  • Court applications to rectify errors or inconsistencies in a declaration;
  • First-year budget deficit claims by condominiums, including phased condominiums;
  • Termination of agreements by first-year, turnover boards under section 112 of the condominium act, 1998 for the provision of goods, services and or facilities, including the provision of renewable (geothermal) energy, bulk water/hydro metering services etc. And or their negotiated buy-out;
  • Claims concerning inaccurate or misleading status certificates;
  • Controversies extending to the scope of records condominiums are required to maintain, and the right of owners to access such records, including redactions for privileged and or confidential information;
  • Disputes over the interpretation, validity and or application of provisions in a condominium’s declaration, by-laws and or rules;
  • Claims against directors and or officers for breach of duty of care and or conflict of interest;
  • Prosecution of claims by condominiums for loss or damage to common elements and or units occasioned by insured perils (ie. Wind, fire etc.);
  • Rescission of condominium unit purchase and sale agreements for inaccurate or misleading disclosure by vendor/builders;
  • Accommodation of residents by condominiums under the human rights code of ontario;
  • Entry into units to carry out corporate objects (ie. Fire inspections, hoarding/storage, repairs to common elements etc.);
  • Disputes concerning maintenance and or damage/repairs to units or common elements;
  • Insurance deductible charge-back disputes arising out of damage occasioned to units and or common elements;
  • Condominium lien enforcement for the collection of arrears of common expenses, including all steps in the power of sale process through eviction and sale of the unit;
  • Voting and or proxy disputes at special or general meetings of owners;

Civil Litigation/Commercial Litigation

  • Breach of contract claims;
  • Corporate oppression remedy cases, including shareholder agreement disputes and excluded officers and directors;
  • Claims against officers and or directors for breach of duties including fiduciary duties;
  • Construction contract or construction deficiency claims;
  • Controversies extending to non-solicitation and or non-competition covenants in agreements;
  • Partnership disputes, including proceedings under the partnerships act, rso 1990, c p.5;
  • Corporate and partnership wind ups;
  • Franchise agreement disputes, including proceedings under the arthur wishart act (franchise disclosure), 2000, so 2000, c 3 for rescission;
  • Commercial lease disputes, including termination and eviction or exercise of distraint against tenant property;
  • Professional negligence cases (lawyer, architect, engineer, insurance broker, real estate broker);
  • Solicitor and client assessments under the solicitors act rso 1990, c s. 15 concerning the accounts of a lawyer;
  • Real estate disputes including aborted closings of agreements of purchase and sale, latent defects, breaches of warranties etc.;
  • Proceedings under the partition act, rso 1990. C p.4 concerning the partition/sale of property in respect of joint tenants or tenants in common;
  • Negligence of municipal officials in connection with the review of building permit applications, the issuance of building permits, the inspection of construction and the enforcement of municipal standards;
  • Economic torts including, intentional interference with contractual relations, conspiracy, injurious falsehood, fraudulent or negligent misrepresentation;
  • Warranty claims for work/materials and or delayed occupancy administered by the tarion warranty corporation under the ontario new home warranties plan act, rso 1990, c o.31 including conciliation and appeals from a warranty decision;
  • Claims for adverse possession and property boundary disputes;
  • Easement disputes, including prescriptive or unregistered easements;
  • Recovery of title (legal, registered ownership) to lands following fraudulent transfer by an imposter;
  • Disputes respecting “public utilities” over lands or parts thereof under section 72 of the city of toronto act, 2006 so 2006, c 11 sch a and section 91 of the municipal act, 2001, so 2001, c 25;
  • Unsecured debt collection cases including judgment enforcement under court rules (ie. Judgment debtor examinations, writ of seizure and sale etc.);
  • Fraudulent conveyances, preferences and assignments made to attempt to defeat creditor claims, including proceedings under the fraudulent conveyances act, rso 1990, c f.29 and the assignments and preferences act rso 1990, c a.33;
  • Motions to lift stays under section 69 of the bankruptcy and insolvency act, r.S.C., 1985 c. B-3 arising from a debtor’s assignment in bankruptcy;
  • Motions for an order under section 38 of the bankruptcy and insolvency act, r.S.C., 1985 c. B-3 for an assignment from the trustee in bankruptcy to pursue an action against the bankrupt;
  • Business interruption claims under policies of insurance including but not limited to business losses arising from restricted access to business premises due to civil authority orders in response to covid-19 outbreaks;
  • Claims arising out of spills or contamination of property caused by contaminants as defined by the environmental protection act, rso 1990, c e.19;
  • Claims arising out of damage caused to underground utilities or infrastructure;
  • Mortgage enforcement litigation (power of sale);
  • Enforcement of loan guarantees including guarantees provided to secure loans advanced under the canada small business financing act, sc 1998, c. 36;
  • Enforcement of foreign judgments;
  • Court applications concerning declarations extending to vexatious litigants;
  • Motor carrier and or cargo damage claims;
  • Battery, assault, trespass claims;

Mediation
Arbitration
Notable Civil/Commercial Litigation Cases

  • Savanta v. Hilditch, 2022 ONCA 890 (CanLII) (successfully responded to appeal of motion judge’s decision to dismiss motion seeking to stay client’s claims based on forum selection clause in parties’ contract referring to Massachusetts);
  • Tree-Techol Tree Technology and Research Company Inc. v. VIA Rail Canada Inc., 2017 ONCA 876 (CanLII) (successfully responded to appeal by client’s insurer from the dismissal of its motion to intervene in the client’s action against VIA Rail Canada Inc. for damages caused by train derailment, in order to pursue a claim for subrogation after the insurer missed the limitation period to sue the carrier);
  • Tree-Techol Tree Technology and Research Company Inc. v. VIA Rail Canada Inc., 2017 ONCA 894 (CanLII) (successfully responded to motion by the appellant seeking order clarifying that costs of appeal ordered against it in favor of client, were payable in 30 days. Panel ruled that costs payable by the appellant to client were payable forthwith);
  • Duffin v. NYB Enterprises Inc. 2010 ONCA 765 (CanLII) (successfully appealed order of motion’s judge dismissing client’s action due to her breach of an order requiring the payment of costs to the responding parties to the appeal by a certain date);
  • 2082825 Ontario Inc. v. Platinum Wood Finishing Inc., 2009 CanLII 14394 (ON SCDC) Also reported in Ontario Reports as 96 O.R. (3d) 467 (appeal to the Divisional Court respecting the issue of the application of the “business judgment rule” in the context of the requirements of a unanimous shareholders’ agreement);
  • ACT Greenwood Inc. v. Hamilton 810-Enterprises Inc., 2015 ONSC 4232 (CanLII) (in the context of a disengagement between the client and another party concerning the operating of various methadone clinics, successfully responded to a motion to stop client from excluding the other party, a doctor, from the jointly run medical clinics, as well the doctor’s request for the Court to impose restrictions on how patients at the clinics should be advised of the parties’ disengagement);
  • Cameron v. National Bank of Canada, 2008 CanLII 23235 (ON SC) (appeared with lead counsel in a multi-day trial where client successfully enforced guarantees against the debtor following an assignment of the guarantees to the client by lender, National Bank of Canada);
  • Bono General Construction Ltd. v. Susin, 2005 CanLII 23 (ON SC) (successfully applied under section 140 of the Courts of Justice Actand obtained a court declaration against the respondent that he was a vexatious litigant and that he be enjoined from carrying on or commencing any proceedings against the clients without first obtaining leave of the Court);
  • Co-operative Housing Federation v. Bridlewood et al, 2011 ONSC 3898 (CanLII) see also Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada v. Bridlewood Co-operative Inc., 2012 ONSC 5936 (CanLII) (represented residential housing cooperative in Essex occupied by mainly auto worker retirees and comprising over 130 dwellings in respect of an application by the Co-operative Housing Federation, to appoint a receiver manager and to investigate the affairs of the cooperative, including the need for  maintenance and repairs, and to determine the appropriate steps to wind up the cooperative);
  • Jones v. Quinn., 2022 ONSC 4429 (CanLII) (represented owner of 100-acre property located in Trent Hills in connection with a dispute with the occupant of the property that involved the interpretation and application of a buy-back provision contained in a contract of purchase and sale between the parties, as well as the occupant’s compliance with the agreement’s lease terms. The decision considers areas of law involving repudiation, rescission and the factors in determining whether a lease is subject to the Commercial Tenancies Act R.S.O. 1990, c. L.7); 

Notable Condominium Litigation Cases

  • Temedio v. Niagara North Condominium Corporation No. 6, 2019 ONCA 762 (CanLII). Also reported in Ontario Reports as 148 O.R. (3d) 171. (appeal concerning request of owner to assess certain legal invoices under the Solicitors Act that were charged back to the unit’s common expenses in connection with successful compliance proceedings against the owner and her tenant;
  • Wentworth Condominium Corporation No. 198 v. McMahon, 2009 ONCA 870 (CanLII). (appeal concerning the interpretation and application section 98 of the Act – common element alterations by owners – in the context of the installation of a hot tub in the owner’s exclusive use, common element rear yard);
  • Noguera v. Muskoka Condominium Corporation No. 22, 2020 ONCA 46 (CanLII). (appeal concerning the oppression remedy, director conflict of interests and the requirement for a section 98 agreement in connection with owners removing a common element demising wall between two units they owned);
  • Niagara North Condominium Corporation No. 125 v. Kinslow, 2007 CanLII 49188 (ON SC). (successful application to enforce a no-pet provision in a declaration against the owner of a unit housing a cat);
  • 1852998 Ontario Limited v. HCC No. 227, 2021 ONSC 21 (CanLII). (successful response to motion for leave to appeal an arbitration award enforcing a rule restricting units in a commercial condominium complex in Milton from cultivating and or selling cannabis);
  • Wu v. PSCC 826, 2018 ONSC 2027 (CanLII) (successfully responded to a motion by a condominium corporation against owner client where condominium sought approximately $77,500 in legal costs and expenses incurred in connection with owner’s voluntary discontinuance of his action to challenge proxies and ballots cast an AGM. Court awarded no costs to condominium finding owner performed a service to owners by pointing out irregularities in the voting process that the condominium should have taken seriously and to the extent possible, addressed them;
  • YRSCC No. 1076 v. Anjali Holdings, 2010 ONSC 822 (CanLII) (successful application for commercial condominium client against owner of unit operating as law office, to cause the owner’s restoration of changes to the common elements without the approval of the board of directors and a section 98 agreement between the parties. Court observed that appeal or aesthetics of alterations are not material to outcome and awarded costs to condominium corporation);
  • NNCC No. 6 v. Temideo, 2017 ONSC 897 (CanLII). (successful application to enforce noise rules against a tenant of a unit as well as a successful response to an application by the owner of the unit to challenge certain chargebacks to her unit’s common expenses for legal fees relating to the condominium’s efforts to secure compliance by her tenant with the noise rules);
  • 1852998 Ontario Ltd. v. Halton Condominium Corp., 2021 ONSC 6566 (CanLII). (successful response to motion to stay the enforcement of an order issued on consent by the Court requiring a cannabis business in a commercial condominium complex in Milton to cease operations by a certain date fixed by the order);
  • Halton Condominium Corporation No. 59 v. Howard, 2009 CanLII 44710 (ON SC). (successfully resisted motion to stay an application to appoint an arbitrator to determine a dispute concerning the usage of units in a condominium consistently with the single-family use provision. Owner sought to stay arbitration pending an application in the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal she made against the condominium for discrimination in housing based on age);
  • Halton Standard Condominium Corporation No. 627 v. Grandview Living Inc., [2015] O.J. No. 7060 (interpretation and application of section 97 of the Condominium Act, 1998 [ie. substantial changes to common elements by condominium] in the context of a turnover board’s termination under section 112 of a long-term renewable energy (geothermal) contract to heat/cool the units/common elements of the site and to cause buyout or transfer of the assets to the condominium corporation); Note: decision of court finding need to comply with section 97 to terminate agreements for goods, services and or facilities under section 112 reversed by arbitrator pursuant to agreement by parties to have corporation’s appeal of court’s ruling determined by arbitrator. Arbitrator concluded renewable energy agreement validly terminated and compelled buyout/transfer of renewable energy equipment at no cost to condominium after accounting for its claims of set against the renewable energy supplier;
  • Decoste v. Halton Condominium Corporation No. 134, 2022 ONCAT 51 (CanLII). (successfully responded to owner application seeking exemption to the coming into force of a no-dog rule);
  • Mitchell v. Halton Condominium Corporation No. 499, 2010 HRTO 1507 (CanLII). (successfully resisted a motion by owners to defer arbitration proceedings commenced by condominium to require their compliance with parking restrictions in the declaration pending an application claiming discrimination in the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal);
  • Di Felice v. Wentworth Standard Condominium Corporation No. 379, 2023 ONCAT 77 (CanLII). (successfully resisted owner’s request to obtain legal invoices issued by condominium counsel largely in connection with the prosecution of litigation against its insurer in respect of damage to common elements due to a storm. Tribunal permitted redactions for privileged/confidential information in invoices and required owner to pay legal fees by student lawyer to perform the redactions);
  • Halton Standard Condominium Corporation No. 490 v. Paikin, 2021 ONCAT 95 (CanLII). (successful application to require owner to remove dog from premises after being declared nuisance by board for repeatedly fouling the unit’s common element balcony with pet excrement);
  • York Condominium Corporation No. 435 v. Karnis et al., 2022 ONCAT 86 (CanLII). (successfully responded to motion by owner to have Tribunal defer the proceedings by the condominium pending the outcome of an application against the condominium by the owner for discrimination concerning a service dog and made by her to the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal);
  • York Condominium Corporation No. 435 v. Karnis et al., 2023 ONCAT 181 (CanLII). (application by condominium in the context of a no-dog prohibition in the declaration to remove White German Shepherd dog housed by occupant required service dog to accommodate a disability. The Tribunal considered scope and application of the “business judgment rule” in the circumstances of the Board’s decision to require the dog’s removal);

Notable Articles/Speaking Engagements

  • Hot Pursuit: When police pursuits run over constitutional lines, 1998 Det. C.L. Rev. [Issue 3], p. 857-892;
  • Case Law Round Up: Cases we love, and cases we love to hate. Concurrent Session III, Panelist, Condominium 2006 Making Life Easier (Hamilton Convention Centre: 2006)
  • The Law on Common Elements, Superior Region Condo News Fall 2010, Canadian Condominium Institute.
  • Smart Litigation Lawyers and their Smart Condominium Board Clients, Volume 1, 2014, Condo News of the Golden Horseshoe, Canadian Condominium Institute.
  • Construction Claims, Session 4A, Panelist, Your Condo Your Community, Golden Horseshoe Chapter Canadian Condominium Institute (Kitchener: 2014);
  • Hockey Night in the Condominium, (CM) Condominium Manager Magazine, Spring 2015;
  • Level 200 Directors’ Course, Canadian Condominium Institute, Enforcement (Burlington: 2015);
  • Level 200 Directors’ Course, Canadian Condominium Institute, Enforcement (Flamborough: 2016);
  • Level 200 Directors’ Course, Canadian Constitute Institute, Enforcement (Burlington: 2017);
  • Condominium Disputes, Boot Camp, Golden Horseshoe and Grandriver Chapters, Canadian Condominium Institute (Kitchener: 2017);
  • The Case of Paul Wu v. Peel Condominium Corporation No. 826, ext al., Summer 2018 edition, Condo News of the Golden Horseshoe and Grandriver Chapters;
  • Mediate, Arbitrate or Court, Session 2D, Panelist, All Under One Roof, Golden Horseshoe Chapter Canadian Condominium Institute (Hamilton Convention Centre: 2011);
  • Clawing Our Way Out, Panelist (webinar), Golden Horseshoe Chapter, Canadian Condominium Institute, (September 2022);
  • 18th Annual Commercial Litigation Seminar, Panelist (webinar) Commercial Lease Law Update, Hamilton Law Association (February 2023);
  • Life of a Condominium from Infant to Toddler: The First Two Years After Condo Registration, Panelist, Golden Horseshoe Chapter, Canadian Condominium Institute, January 2023 (Burlington Art Gallery) and December 2023 (webinar);

Contact

Email: erik@hummingbirdlaw.com
Ext: 905.731.1911 x201


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