trial collapsed
trial collapsed

Edmonton lawyer’s conduct led to collapse of Northlands case, court documents show

A multi-million dollar wrongful dismissal and defamation trial collapsed because of the conduct of the lawyer representing former Edmonton Northlands cashiers, court documents show.

This week, CBC News opposed an application to permanently seal affidavits plaintiffs had filed about Glenda Pidde, who represented 19 fired Northlands parking services cashiers for more than six years, and a publication ban on a mistrial application.

“The public has a right to know about the reasons for the outcome of the case,” said CBC lawyer Tess Layton during oral arguments Wednesday.

Six sworn affidavits were prepared. The plaintiffs’ new lawyer asked Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Tom Rothwell to permanently seal the documents and to order a publication ban on their mistrial application.

Arguing on behalf of the plaintiffs, lawyer Philip Prowse said the affidavits could embarrass Pidde. He described her behavior as “atrocious” and “nothing even close to professional.”

On Friday, Justice Rothwell decided in favor of the CBC, dismissing the plaintiff’s request for a publication ban and sealing order.

“Maintaining the open court principle does not pose a serious risk to her privacy or endanger her physical or mental health,” Rothwell said.

No trial preparation

The plaintiffs claimed in their sworn affidavits that they were never properly prepared for trial.

They described meeting with Pidde on March 6 at the Edmonton Inn. The lawyer demanded the group act as cheerleaders by repeatedly chanting, “We’re gonna win.”

On March 17, the group met at the Victoria golf course. Angela Pegg, in her affidavit, claimed the lawyer provided no trial preparation.

“[Pidde] wanted us to stand in a circle around her while stomping our feet. She wanted the plaintiffs to call her ‘The General,'” Pegg said.

Plaintiff Janet Roberts claimed in her affidavit that Pidde “danced to music for most of the meeting.”

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