Byron W. Nelson, B.A., L.L.B. (Hons)
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Byron W. Nelson, trial lawyer and partner with McGuigan Nelson LLP, has spent the last twenty years protecting the rights of individuals and small businesses in insurance and commercial litigation. He has represented clients in the Supreme Court of Canada, Provincial Court of Alberta, Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench, Alberta Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court of British Columbia, the British Columbia Court of Appeal, Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench and the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench. Nelson regularly represents clients in judicial dispute resolutions, mediations, arbitrations and pre-trial conferences.
Nelson has recently acted in commercial disputes against a major public utility and for and against large insurers. Previously, he and McGuigan secured a large settlement for gender discrimination claims against a nationally recognized oil and gas corporation.
Nelson has handled expert evidence at recent trials on behalf of McGuigan Nelson LLP, including the qualification of experts, direct examination of his clients’ experts and cross-examination of opposing parties’ experts. Nelson was recently counsel for the first qualification of an expert in “standard broker practices and management” in Alberta, in a matter involving a stock broker.
Nelson was co-counsel in the precedent-setting case Soost v. Merrill Lynch Canada Inc. which awarded $600,000.00 for pay in lieu of notice and $1,600,000.00 in further damages to McGuigan Nelson LLP’s client, plus interest and costs. This case is significant, both because of how it compensates a wrongfully terminated employee where regular pay in lieu of notice would not suffice, and because of how it deals with a stockbrocker’s “book of business”.
Nelson and McGuigan were co-counsel in the precedent-setting case Marion v. Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Co. where the Alberta Court of Appeal ruled in favour of their client. This decision has been reported by several legal publications because it advances the rights of the insured in civil litigation. The case clarifies the responsibilities of insurance companies with respect to the production of insurer’s privileged documents. Specifically, it establishes when investigative reports must be produced by insurance companies facing a summary judgement application.
Active in politics, Nelson worked for British Prime Minister John Major during his General Election Tour of 1997 and provided tour support for Canadian Prime Minister Kim Campbell in 1993. Nelson was the Progressive Conservative candidate for Calgary-Bow in the 2015 Alberta election and in 2017 was a candidate for the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta.
Nelson has provided instruction on litigation to the former Alberta Bar Admission course for the Legal Education Society of Alberta and teaches negotiation to the new Canadian Centre for Professional Legal Education. He also presents on employment issues and corporate law at the Immigrant Engineers Society.
Nelson recently instructed on litigation practice to fellow lawyers at the Legal Education Society of Alberta’s Fall 2012 “Law and Practice Update”.
Nelson volunteers for the Shriners Hospitals for Children as a past chairman for Southern Alberta. He currently sits on the international Jurisprudence and Laws Committee for Shriners International.
Born in British Columbia, Nelson was raised in Calgary. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Calgary in 1994 and received his law degree with honours, from the University of Wales, Cardiff in 1997. Nelson articled in Calgary with McGuigan, Kitchen & Associates and was admitted to the bar of the Law Society of Alberta at the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench in September,1998 by Justice Rooke.
In his final year of law school, Nelson was the first non-Brit to ever serve as president of the Cardiff Students’ Law Society. Nelson was also active in the Inns of Court Society and formally dined at the Inner Temple and Gray’s Inn in London, England.
An avid rugby player, Byron is a past president of the Calgary Rams Rugby Club and a member of the Al Azhar Shrine Temple. In addition, McGuigan Nelson LLP act as general counsel for the Al Azhar Shrine Temple. Byron enjoys camping and hiking with his daughter and son.
Nelson’s recent courtroom experience:
- The successful Applicant in Perth v. Mears 2018 ABCA 100, Nelson successfully obtained leave to appeal a costs order following trial, notwithstanding that trial judges are granted a great deal of discretion in awarding costs.
- The successful Plaintiff in Perth v. Mears 2017 ABQB 666, a case in which Nelson’s client was a contractor that had subcontracted out a portion of a storm sewer pipe contract, but where the subcontractor performed its portion of the work inadequately, causing more damages to Nelson’s client than the value of the subcontract. This matter centered around whether the subcontractor had nonetheless installed the pipe within acceptable industry standards.
- The successful Defendant in Lewis v. Plourde 2017 ABQB 235, Nelson successfully represented a home inspector alleged to have provided negligent and improper representation to a home buyer. Nelson successfully argued that any latent defects in the home could not have been determined by the home inspector and that the underlying contract limited the home inspector to providing only a visual inspection and not a code compliance or invasive inspection.
- The successful Defendant in Franchuk v. Shick 2014 ABQB 249, Nelson successfully argued that the doctrine of qualified privilege applied to an employee who had reported sexual harassment to her employer, in writing, at the request of her manager.
- The successful Respondent in Nahal v. Gottlieb (2012) 60 Alta. L.R. (5th) 418, Nelson successfully argued, in part, against a dismissal motion, arguing that the Plaintiff’s property was foreclosed for a value that was less than the market rate, and although the court had granted an order for sale, it was not made aware that the offer being approved was not arms-length and was therefore not properly indicative of the true market value of the property. This is an important case in the area of foreclosure litigation.
- The successful appellant in to the Alberta Court of Appealcase of Stoke Resources & Consulting Inc. v. Auto Body Services Red Deer Ltd. (2011) 515 A.R. 367, reversing a Court of Queen’s Bench decision regarding the ownership of oil servicing tanks. Nelson successfully argued the issues of whether perfection of a security interest was required under the Personal Property Security Act.
- The sucessful applicant in the Supreme Court of British Columbia case of Synex Pharmaceutical v. L.O.M. Medical and Others (2010 BCSC), Nelson obtained a full security for costs order in favour of his clients, in a situation where the Respondent argued that the 12 Defendants in the case, 6 of whom were represented by Nelson, should receive only one global costs award. Nelson successfully argued that the interests of his clients were significantly diverse so as to entitle them to receive their own costs.
- The successful Respondent in the alleged mortgage fraud case RBC v. Levy et al. (2010 ABQB), Nelson successfully argued that the conduct of his clients was not fradulent, and that his clients had not been established as “straw buyers” and that therefore the bank should not be granted an Order for sale of their home.
- the successful Plaintiff in the case Soost v. Merrill Lynch Canada Inc. (2009) 473 A.R. 254, 13 Alta. L.R. (5th) 286, (2010) 3 W.W.R. 94, awarding $600,000.00 for pay in lieu of notice for wrongful termination of employment, plus an additional $1.6 million for damages relating to the manner of termination;
- the successful Respondent in the case Marion v. Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Co. (2004) ABCA 213, 11 C.C.L.I. (4th) 52, (2004) I.L.R. I-4317, 27 Alta. L.R. (4th) 201, 9 W.W.R. 533 (C.A.) determining that privilege is waived and production of investigative reports must be made upon an insurer’s reliance and reference to them in opposing a summary judgment application, with additional commentary on the use of hearsay evidence in response to a summary judgment application;
- the successful Defendant in Financial Choice Realtors Inc. v. O’Neil (2003)12 R.P.R. (4th) 302, 19 Alta. L.R. (4th) 305,  3 W.W.R. 526, which was a key statement on the law of agency and the liability of agents to third parties;
- the successful Applicant in Marion v. Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Co. (2003), 3 C.C.L.I. (4th) 135,  I.L.R. 4234,  2 W.W.R. 544, 22 Alta. L.R. (4th) 107 (Q.B.) determining that privilege is waived and production of investigative reports must be made upon an insurer’s reliance and reference to them in opposing a summary judgment application.
- the successful Applicant in Jeerh v. Yorkton Securities Inc. (2004) 2004 CarswellAlta 1857 (Alta. Master) determining that similar actions should be tried consecutively where there is a thread of commonality between the actions. This decision was made for a number of reasons, but primarily to avoid the risk of inconsistent verdicts.
- the successful Respondent in Jeerh v. Yorkton Securities Inc. (2004) 2004 CarswellAlta 1775 (Q.B.) which was the appeal of the above-noted Order. This decision upheld the Master’s decision and determined that the saving of witness time was a key reason for having the similar actions tried consecutively by the same trial judge