Michelle T. Maniago

Michelle T. Maniago  

Partner

Executive Summary

Michelle Maniago is a partner in our Corporate Commercial Litigation Department in our Vancouver office. She is currently a regional lead of BLG's Appellate Advocacy Group and is also a member of our Class Action and International Trade and Arbitration Groups. Michelle practises in the area of civil litigation, class actions, and arbitration, with an emphasis on commercial and corporate disputes. She also routinely provides strategic and statutory compliance advice to individuals and corporations.

Michelle has extensive experience with class action proceedings in Canada, particularly in the areas of consumer protection claims, competition claims and banking-related claims. Her class action defence practice has covered a wide range of industries and she has represented retailers, financial institutions, aviation companies, manufacturers, and telecommunication companies. She has acted as arbitral counsel both domestically and internationally in several commercial arbitrations in a wide range of industries, including complex contractual disputes and commercial lease disputes. She also has specialized experience with complex commercial litigation, corporate governance, advertising / competition law, plans of arrangement, privacy law (including access to information requests), and inter-jurisdictional evidentiary matters (including obtaining and enforcing Letters Rogatory or Letters of Request).

Michelle has appeared as counsel before the Court of Appeal for British Columbia, the Supreme Court of British Columbia, and the Youth Justice (Criminal) Court. She also has appeared as counsel before both domestic and international arbitration tribunals.

Prior to beginning her articles at BLG, Michelle completed a one-year judicial clerkship with the Court of Appeal for British Columbia. During law school, she completed Osgoode Hall's Intensive Program in Aboriginal Lands, Resources and Government. As part of that program, Michelle spent two months in New Zealand developing a legally focused rehabilitation program for maximum-security prisoners who were about to be released from custody. She also received Osgoode Hall's class prize for constitutional litigation.

Representative Work

  • Acted for clients in class action proceedings. Recent experience includes:
    • Defending Loblaw Companies Limited and George Weston Limited (and related corporate entities) in proposed class actions across Canada, including in British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario, in which price-fixing allegations in respect of wholesale and retail sales of fresh commercial bread are made. Includes Asquith v. George Weston Limited, 2018 BCSC 1557. Also includes successfully obtaining stays of proceeding of duplicative actions in Alberta (April 2019).
    • Defending Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of OxyContin, in the proposed class action in which the government of British Columbia seeks to represent the federal government and the governments of other provinces and territories to recover damages and health care costs from some 40 defendants who are manufacturers, distributors or retailers of opioid pain medications.
    • Defended Danny LaSante in an environmental class action, successfully overturning the majority of the certification order on appeal: Kirk v. Executive Flight Centre Fuel Services Ltd., 2019 BCCA 111.
    • Defended British Airways against a consumer class action, alleging that British Airways (and other airlines) had misrepresented fuel surcharges as taxes in their passenger ticketing practices, resulting in the certification being dismissed (and that result upheld on appeal): Simsek v. United Airlines, 2017 BCCA 316.
    • Defended the Bank of Nova Scotia against a consumer class action relating to sales of credit card balance protection insurance, resulting in the certification being dismissed: Sekhon v. Royal Bank of Canada, 2017 BCSC 497.
    • Defended United Furniture Warehouse against a consumer class action. Certification application dismissed. Result affirmed on appeal. Marshall v. United Furniture Warehouse Limited Partnership, 2013 BCSC 2050, affirmed 2015 BCCA 252, leave to appeal to Supreme Court of Canada denied with costs (17 March 2016).
    • Defended Mazda Canada and its authorized B.C. dealers against a consumer class action seeking disgorgement of profits based on waiver of tort. Successfully obtained reversal on appeal of certification; proceeding dismissed as disclosing no cause of action: Koubi v. Mazda Canada, 2010 BCSC 650 and 2011 BCSC 59, rev'd 2012 BCCA 310, leave to appeal to Supreme Court of Canada denied with costs (17 January 2013).
    • Successfully resisted pre-certification document production for Monessen CanadaCantlie v. Canadian Heating Products Inc., 2014 BCSC 228.
  • Defended The Bank of Nova Scotia in a dispute regarding responsibility for forged cheques. Successfully defended on appeal the lower court decision dismissing the action. D2 Contracting Ltd. v. The Bank of Nova Scotia, 2016 BCCA 366.
  • Successfully defended RBC Royal Bank in a complex contractual, banking and secured transaction/priority dispute (Personal Property Security Act) in five-week trial. CFI Trust v. Royal Bank of Canada, 2013 BCSC 1715, and costs outcome 2014 BCSC 53. Notably, this trial was the first in BC to be conducted almost exclusively with electronically-presented evidence.
  • Acted for clients in domestic and international arbitrations involving complex contractual interpretation.
  • Acted for clients in breach of contract claims. For example, see, Wendel v. Tristar Industries, 2009 BCCA 99, aff'ing 2008 BCSC 1364 (breach of share purchase agreement).
  • Acted for clients in privacy related matters, including dealing with access to information requests and compliance with privacy and data protection legislation.
  • Acted for shareholder clients in shareholder oppression claims.
  • Acted for company client in directors' liability claim.
  • Acted for clients to obtain approval of corporate plans of arrangement. Includes acting as litigation counsel to Pan American Silver in an arrangement involving a $1.1 billion transaction with Tahoe Resources.
  • Acted for clients to rectify past corporate mistakes or omissions.
  • Acted for clients to enforce foreign Letters Rogatory in British Columbia, to obtain evidence from British Columbia witnesses.
  • Acted for clients to obtain Letter of Request from British Columbia Courts, to obtain evidence from witnesses resident in the United States.
  • Acted for clients in a variety of procedural matters, including striking pleadings, obtaining interpleader relief, and contesting pre-judgment garnishments. For an example of a decided case in the pleadings context, see Natco International Inc. v. Photo Violation Technologies Corp, 2008 BCSC 1325.
  • Provided opinions to clients on corporate governance matters.
  • Provided opinions to clients about statutory or regulatory interpretation or compliance.
  • Provided litigation opinions on potential success or risks of claims.

Publications & Presentations

Rankings & Recognitions

  • Recognized in the 2019 edition (and since 2017) of Benchmark Canada — The Definitive Guide to Canada's Leading Litigation Firms & Attorneys as a "Future Star" in British Columbia and Canada.

  • Recognized in the 2018 (and since the inaugural 2017) edition of Benchmark Canada 40 and Under Hotlist.

  • ​Recognized in the 2018 edition (and since 2015) of Expert Guides®'s Rising Stars as a "Rising Star" in Commercial Arbitration.