Gilbert Hourani  

Partner

Executive Summary

Gilbert Hourani provides litigation defence services to Canadian and foreign insurers carrying on business in Canada and in the U.S. With an extensive background in insurance and construction law and civil litigation, his practice focuses on professional liability of general and specialized contractors and engineering firms. This extends to providing clients strategic legal advisory services with respect to risk management and insurance coverage.

With over 20 years of experience, Gilbert represents public and private entities of all sizes, and brings specialized knowledge with respect to insurance defence and risk management for professional and financial indemnity and general line programs underwritten in Canada. His clients include several Lloyds of London Syndicates holding a Canadian book of business, managing general agencies and Canadian cover holders, and most of the Canadian TPA outfits leading casualty and property programs in Canada for Underwriters, Promutuel Lanaudière, Société mutuelle d’assurance, Groupe Promutuel Fédération des sociétés mutuelles d’assurance générale, HUB International, Arthur J. Gallagher, April Canada, GPL Assurances, RSA, and others. Gilbert is also regularly appointed by large insureds in COC claims, notably WSP Canada Inc. and SNC-Lavalin Inc.

Gilbert is often called upon to speak at conferences and actively engages within the industry, particularly as a member of the Barreau du Québec. His ongoing involvement includes roles on various committees such as the one for continuing education, and as chair of the annual insurance law seminar.

Representative Work

Insurance Coverage and Defense

  • Defense against a claim following a fire in an apartment building on the argument that that the policy was voided ab initio after a mechanical workshop had been found in the building, revealing an undeclared commercial activity. Proving the knowledge of the risk by the insured was difficult as he was not a resident of the building and claimed to be unaware of the activity of one of the tenants.
  • Policy voided ab initio because of the insured’s links to criminal activities and organized crime.
  • Application to compel the insurer to provide a defense (Wellington) — Denial of the application because of the absence of "material damage" and "occurrence", as defined in CGL’s insurance policy.
  • Builder’s risk insurance in construction matters — Case having required a three-day hearing on the foreseeability of damages. The Court applied the exclusion clause for faulty workmanship.
  • Arson in a grocery store causing $1.4 million in damages — The Court ruled that a serious, precise and concordant presumption led to the conclusion that the insured was involved in the arson. The evidence highlighted several technical and expert elements on the alarm system, surveillance cameras and the substantial quantity of fire accelerants, as well as the unique occasion (motive) and financial gain in collecting an insurance indemnity.
  • Fraudulent  Insurance claims — Numerous fraud insurance cases such as simulated accidents and thefts and exaggerated claims.

Professional Liability

  • Represented  an engineer with respect to a claim made by our client’s co-defendant for contribution of $1.9 million. The claim was denied for lack of causation and absence of fault: the co-defendant did not have legal standing to sue another professional having worked on the project since there was no legal relationship between the parties.
  • Alleged error in lot description in a condominium development project. The plaintiff alleged that the notary had failed to use reasonable care in performing his task, thereby causing the promoter to lose a business opportunity.
  • Dessercom inc. c. Dubreuil, 2010 QCCS 5383 (CanLII) -.Contestation of document authenticity — A defendant claimed that the notary had failed to properly express the parties’ intent when drafting the warranty clause in the contract for sale of a building..
  • Alleged undue influence and incapacity of testator. Gilbert proved that these allegations were unfounded: the Court confirmed the validity of the notarial will.
  • Summary rejection of a claim because of prescription — The plaintiff was seeking to thwart the prescription by amending his original claim to add a co-defendant and raising the co-defendants’ in solidum liability. The Court denied the amendment for cause of prescription.

Product liability — Case raising the duty to inform and resting on expert evidence on the standard of care in the installation of oil production equipment.

Subrogation in condo towers water infiltration due to flawed design and latent defects. 300 co-owners against all COC defendants. Settled after 2 day mediation, 55 parties total. Estimated trial length: 3 months

Risk management on coverage & liability exposure re-assessment in the context of a 1G commercial arbitration dealing with job site change of conditions, overrun costs, LDs, costs of rework, flawed design, etc. to overall assess coverage and assist in monitoring and bringing claim to final closure;

Latent Defect 120M COC claim for a large housing project in Kativik Northern Québec:  ±3000 units allegedly affected by construction deficiencies, refurbished for the Québec inuit community in 12 villages located in Kativik, multi-party suit involving ± 30 parties;

Host-Liquor, Bar/host programs: several cases involving arson, fraud, misrepresentation on material facts at policy inception, risk aggravation and ab inito nullity of policies.

Publications & Presentations

Gilbert Hourani is an avid writer and has authored numerous articles on insurance law and civil procedure. He is a sought-after speaker with multiple presentations to organizations such as the Barreau du Québec, Chambre de l’assurance dommage du Québec, Insight Conferences, and the Canadian Institute. He also provides educational sessions to a wide variety of organizations, including foreign clients, on Québec civil law and the Canadian and Québec judicial systems.

  • Author, "Les Éditions Yvon Blais Inc. in Développements récents en droit des assurances for the Québec Bar Annual Convention on Insurance Law," published several times of the years since 2003.
  • Author, "Commentaires sur le droit des assurances – texte législatif et réglementaire," such as "L’Interrogatoire statutaire: légitime, pertinent et toujours d’actualité," 2nd edition, LexisNexis Canada Inc., Montréal, 2011.
  • Presenter, "L’appel abusif et dilatoire et son rejet par voie sommaire: une mise à jour, neuf ans plus tard," Colloque annuel développements récents et tendances en procédure civile, Barreau de Québec, April 2010.
  • Presenter, "L’appel abusif et dilatoire: le rejet de l’appel, le cautionnement et les dommages-intérêts," Développements récents en droit civil, Barreau du Québec, Continuing Education Program, November 2001.
  • Presenter, "Les jugements marquants de la dernière année en droit des assurances," conference at the Arthabaska section of the Barreau du Québec, hosted by the Barreau du Québec’s continuing education service, April 2001.
  • Presenter, "L’attente raisonnable de l’assuré: à tort ou à raison?," Développements récents en droit des assurances, vol. 147, 2001, presented at the seminar on insurance law hosted by the Barreau du Québec’s continuing education service, January 2001.

Rankings & Recognitions

  • ​Recognized in the 2018 edition (and since 2013) of Best Lawyers in Canada (Insurance Law).