Hugh M. DesBrisay
Counsel | Toronto
Toronto: 416-863-2426

Hugh is an experienced advocate. His counsel practice has an emphasis on corporate disputes, product liability litigation, construction law, the defence of class actions and construction law.

Hugh has been practising litigation for 28 years. He began his litigation career at Blakes in 1986, where he was a Partner from 1992 to 1998. He then practised litigation for 10 years at a litigation boutique firm of which he was a founding partner. In 2008, he took his litigation practice back to Blakes, rejoining the Firm as counsel.

SELECT EXPERIENCE

  • Lead counsel for a major automobile manufacturing company in the defence of a proposed class action involving allegations of sudden vehicle acceleration.
  • Lead counsel for a major automobile manufacturing company in the defence of a proposed class action involving allegations of fault in a dashboard communications system.
  • Lead counsel for a major truck manufacturing company involving allegations of engine defects.
  • Lead counsel for a major automobile manufacturing company in the defence of a proposed class action alleging a conspiracy to restrict competition under the Competition Act
  • Co-counsel for a communications company in the successful defence of a class action involving allegations that an administration fee constituted a form of interest at a rate in excess of the criminal rate of interest contrary to the usury provisions of the Criminal Code (action dismissed by the Court of Appeal)
  • Lead counsel to a major automobile manufacturing company in a jury trial involving allegations by a police officer that the brakes of his police cruiser failed causing a serious personal injury (action dismissed by jury verdict)
  • Co-counsel for a general contractor seeking compensation for delay involving a C$100-million construction project
  • Lead counsel for a client in a commercial arbitration over the value of a long-term promotional rights contract for the Toronto Raptors games
  • Lead counsel on a three-week prosecution before the Ontario Securities Commission where one of the key issues was the meaning of a security under the Securities Act
  • Co-counsel at trial and before the Divisional Court, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada in the oppression and estate litigation over the ownership of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment
  • Co-counsel for a major automobile manufacturing company in a shareholder action to determine the fair value of shares and allegations of oppression
AWARDS & RECOGNITION

Since 2013, Hugh has been recognized as a leading lawyer in The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory in various litigation categories. In the 2017 edition, he is "repeatedly recommended" in the area of Litigation - Product Liability.