The lawyer who defended Gerald Stanley has launched a legal action against his former law firm.
Scott Spencer, who represented Stanley as he was acquitted in the shooting death of Colten Boushie, filed a statement of claim in April at Saskatoon Court of Queen's Bench. It alleges his old law firm, Robertson Stromberg, pushed Spencer out after his office made inquires about "setting the record straight" in a book about the high profile trial.
The suit alleges some of the firm's partners were "embarrassed" in the wake of a public outcry after a publisher refused the book proposal.
Allegations contained in statements of claim have not been proven in court.
The partners have applied to have the suit dismissed or stayed. That application, filed by lawyer Shaunt Parthev, who represents Robertson Stromberg, says many of Spencer's allegations are "simply false," while others are incomplete or misleading.
It calls the lawsuit "a brazen attempt to publicly attack his former partners." It alleges the dispute was over Spencer's compensation for resigning from the firm, which is covered by its partnership agreement, and says Spencer wanted more than he was entitled to receive under that agreement.
Spencer is seeking general damages and interest on the amounts he said the firm owes him, in addition to $48,900 over an alleged equity breach and another amount to be proven in court over an alleged allocation breach.
The application filed by Parthev says Spencer's "payout ... would be the same regardless of whether he was forced to leave, or he resigned."
It says the firm's partners raised concerns with Spencer over his conduct as early as 2016. They "admonished" him for making contact with media directly over client matters and he promised to stop doing so without their approval, but didn't follow through, at states.
Spencer's legal action comes roughly two years after the Stanley trial polarized the province.
Boushie, a 22-year-old man from Red Pheasant Cree Nation, was killed on Aug. 9, 2016, on Stanley’s farm in the RM of Glenside. In February 2018, a Battleford jury acquitted Stanley of second-degree murder charges.
When the criminal case was over, Spencer's statement of claim says he was "exhausted." He asked a junior lawyer to contact potential publishers when Stanley expressed interest in releasing an account, it says.
Spencer and other partners, meanwhile, discussed the possibility of an author working with Stanley to "tell his side of the story," according to the statement of claim.
A publisher's negative response soon set off "a social media firestorm," it adds.
It says the partners indicated the response would "blow over" and that they wouldn't throw any partner "under the bus." However, the statement of claim says partners later attempted to distance the firm from Spencer through an email sent to media.
The partners later supported Spencer's departure, the claim states, adding that if Stanley moved forward with the book, the firm informed him it would "gladly" be involved in the process.
A hearing on the dismissal application is scheduled for Dec. 10.
Nick Pearce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The StarPhoenix