CHRIS AFONSO brings considerable experience and an innovative, inventive approach to his diverse practice. Above all, Chris is focused on meeting client goals. He does this by employing effective, persuasive advocacy, consistently bringing poise and fearlessness into the courtroom and negotiations.
Chris has appeared at all levels of court in Ontario, including the Ontario Superior Court, the Ontario Court of Appeal, the Ontario Court of Justice and the Federal Court of Canada. He has represented clients in a wide variety of matters, including construction litigation, professional negligence litigation, commercial disputes, corporate governance disputes, and policy interpretation matters for insurers. Additionally, Chris has significant experience in class actions and defending disciplinary and regulatory prosecutions.
Chris is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association, the Ontario Bar Association and the Advocates’ Society.
- Acted for a construction company in litigation by a Toronto condominium developer, following a major construction-stage redesign due to building foundation issues
- Acted for a subsidiary corporation in a class action by investors. The subsidiary was alleged to have colluded with the parent corporation directors to oppress the interest of investors in the conduct of a sale of the subsidiary to new ownership
- Acted for a subcontracted construction company in a breach of trust and breach of contract claim, arising from a general contractor who obtained payment from a government entity on a major infrastructure project and then failed to pay outstanding invoices
- Acted for a professional in a class action by investors following a collapse of a mortgage investment scheme. Investors claimed that they relied on the professional’s advice when entering into the investment scheme organized by others
- Acted for a municipality in an action where a disappointed bidder brought an action for lost profits after being disqualified from a construction bid process
- Acted for a public entity in an arbitration with its service providers to set service prices for a multi-year agreement involving services valued at over $100 million
- Acted for an insurer in a coverage application and related equitable contribution actions amongst insurers, arising from a series of product liability class actions across Canada
- Acted for a building owner in a class action arising out of an explosion involving onsite public utility equipment
- Acted for a building owner and its insurer in recovery actions against public entities for property damage and business losses suffered as a result of a fire
- Acted for a professional in a disciplinary hearing at the Ontario Securities Commission, in connection with allegations of bad faith and dishonesty in the preparation of a will for one of the professional’s clients
– Black & McDonald Limited v. Eiffage Innovative Canada Inc., 2023 ONCA 91 (CanLII)
Successful appeal of a jurisdiction challenge motion concerning the interpretation of conflict terms in prime contracts and subcontracts in a dispute regarding a major infrastructure development.
– MCAP v Dickieson, 2023 ONSC 2233 (CanLII)
Successful summary judgment motion to dismiss a professional liability claim based on a limitation period defence.
– Barkley v. Tier 1 Capital Management Inc., 2019 ONCA 54
Successful defence of appeal. The underlying action was a class action by investors in a syndicated loan against a real estate appraiser. The action against the appraiser was dismissed at the class action certification hearing on the grounds that the disclaimers contained in the report at issue barred the class members’ claim.
– Peloso v. Griesbach, 2018 ONSC 798
Successful summary judgment motion dismissing a plaintiff’s action for being commenced beyond the limitation period. At issue was whether a plaintiff could wait to crystallize its damages pursuant to a power of sale before commencing an action. The plaintiff sought to expand the currently evolving law regarding permitting plaintiffs to delay bringing actions while they await completion of an alternative dispute process that may make their claim unnecessary. In this case the plaintiff, a lender, asked the court to permit it to commence an action after a power of sale process was completed. The court declined and dismissed the action.
– Eisen v. Altus Group Limited, 2016 ONSC 1301
Successful defence of an appeal. The underlying action concerned a negligent misrepresentation case against a real estate appraisal. The allegation was that the professional’s original report was negligently prepared. The appellant sought to compel the appraisal to effectively prepare a new report in light of information subsequently discovered – effectively the plaintiff was attempting to turn the defendant into an expert against themselves. The Divisional Court agreed that this type of discovery question was improper.
– McDowell v. Cavan-Millbrook – North Monaghan (Municipality), 2016 ONCA 193
Successful defence of an appeal brought by the plaintiff after the underlying motion dismissed the plaintiff’s action for delay. The action concerned a municipality’s liability for a developer’s lost profits after a development was allegedly not approved in a timely manner.
– Kheriji v. 14939201 Ontario Limited, 2015 ONSC 5196
Successful summary judgment dismissing the action of a plaintiff seeking to recover damages against a property owner, arising out of personal injuries suffered as a result of a tenant’s operations. The court accepted that no duty of care was owed in the circumstances and that the action against the landlord could be dismissed.
– Alliance Shippers, Inc. v. Blue Line Distribution Limited, 2011 ONSC 6958
Successful defence of a summary judgment motion involving an international contract dispute. The court had to consider the applicability of US law, whether the Canadian litigation was an abuse of process in light of the decisions of the US, and the relevance within the context of the Canadian proceeding of potential admissions made by US counsel in the related US proceeding.
– Geodis Wilson Canada Ltd. v. J & B Furniture Inc., 2011 ONCA 678
Successful cross-appeal of a summary judgment and successful defence of the opposing party’s appeal. The motions judge had awarded partial summary judgment on a contractual dispute on a motion brought immediately after discoveries. The opposing party appealed and sought direction that all matters should go to trial. We successfully defended that appeal and the Court of Appeal overturned the partial judgment and granted full judgment.
- A Primer of the Relationship Between Primary and Excess Insurance, In-House Presentation of Insurance company, 2019
- Update to the Anns Test and a Rejection of the Tort of “Negligent Misstatement”, Stieber Berlach presentation, 2019
- Serving Alcohol: The Evolving Law, Stieber Berlach Insurance Law Update Seminar, 2019
- Rule 49: The Permissibility Of “All-In” Offers and Other Non-Standard Offers, Stieber Berlach presentation, 2017
- Avoiding Errors & Omissions Claims, In-house Presentation of Professional Association, 2016
- Negligent Misrepresentation: When is There Reliance?, Stieber Berlach Insurance Law Update Seminar, 2015
- Limit of Liability Provisions & Enforceability, Stieber Berlach presentation, 2015
- Directors’ and Officers’ Liability, In-House Presentation of Insurance Company, 2014
- Pierringer Agreement: The Architecture of Partial Resolution of Multi-Party Litigation, Stieber Berlach presentation, 2013
- “Dismissing Professional Negligence Claims at The Pleadings Stage, “Stieber Berlach Case Commentaries, 2019
- “Update to The Anns Test and a Rejection of The Tort of ‘Negligent Misstatement’,” Stieber Berlach Case Commentaries, 2019
- “Enforcing Arbitration Agreement to Avoid Class Actions in Ontario,” Stieber Berlach Case Commentaries Newsletter, 2019
- “Serving Alcohol: The Evolving Law,” Stieber Berlach Insurance Law Update Seminar, 2019
- “Preventing Extensions of Limitation Periods,” Stieber Berlach Case Commentaries, 2018
- “Negligent Misrepresentation: When Is There Reliance?,” Stieber Berlach Insurance Law Update Seminar, 2015