Una’s practice focuses on two key areas: general commercial litigation and contaminated sites litigation and risk management. Una is the Co-Chair of our Environmental law group and was recognized by Benchmark Litigation’s 40 & Under Hot List in 2018, 2019 and 2020.
Una is a partner in Harper Grey’s Commercial Litigation and Environmental Regulation & Disputes practice groups. Una frequently lectures on various aspects of contaminated sites law for the Pacific Business and Law Institute, BC Environmental Industry Association, the Environmental Managers Association, and the BC Continuing Legal Education Society. She is the co-author of BC Environmental Management Legislation and Commentary and the recipient of the 2017 Lexpert® Leading Lawyers Under 40 award. Una is recognized by the 2018 Canadian Legal Lexpert® Directory as a Leading Lawyer to Watch in the area of corporate commercial litigation and by Benchmark Canada® as a Future Litigation Star. Una has also been included in Benchmark Litigation’s 40 & Under Hot List for three consecutive years – in 2018, 2019 and 2020.. She has also been ranked by Best Lawyers® in Canada 2019 as a “Leading Lawyer in the area of Environmental Law.
In her commercial practice, Una handles a wide variety of commercial matters including contractual and real property disputes, mining expropriation claims, shareholder disputes, commercial fraud claims, and claims against directors and officers. Una’s contaminated sites practice involves litigating cost recovery claims and claims against environmental consultants and contractors, handling appeals before the Environmental Appeal Board, advising clients on strategies to minimize environmental liability risk and representing them in their dealings with the regulator.
Una’s clients range from small businesses and property owners, to developers, strata corporations, insurers, and multi-national, large corporations and REITs.
40 & Under Hot List - Leading Lawyers Under 40 award recipient, Benchmark Canada®, 2018, 2019, 2020
Rising Stars - Leading Lawyers Under 40 award recipient, Lexpert®, 2017
Recognized as a “Future Star” in British Columbia by Benchmark Canada®, 2018-2019
Recognized as a “Leading Lawyer to Watch” in Litigation - Corporate Commercial by Canadian Legal Lexpert® Directory, 2018
Recognized as a "Leading Lawyer" in the area of Environmental Law by Best Lawyers® in Canada, 2019-2021
Commercial (and Other) Litigation / Arbitration
- Eisler Estate v. GWR Resources Inc., 2020 BCCA 111 and May 22, 2020 Oral Reasons of Mackenize J.A. – Successfully represented the respondent on an application to compel the appellant to post security for the trial judgement and costs of appeal. On a subsequent application, obtained a further order that the appellant post significant security for the trial costs.
- Eisler Estate v. GWR Resources Inc., 2020 BCSC 562 – Successfully represented the Plaintiff, Defendant by Counterclaim, in obtaining full indemnification for legal fees expended at trial to defend allegations of fraud, pursuant to a contractual indemnity provision.
- Eisler Estate v. GWR Resources Inc., 2019 BCSC 1990– Successfully defended a former director and officer of a public mining company in a claim for fraud and breach of fiduciary duty brought by the company.
- Eisler v. GWR Resources Inc., 2018 BCSC 162 – Successfully applied to remove a certificate of pending litigation from title to a valuable real property, on the basis of hardship and inconvenience, in the context of a fraud claim against a former director and officer of a public company.
- Iwasaki v. Redford, 2016 BCSC 504 – Una was co-counsel for the defendants in a $60 million dollar fraud case brought by an individual who was an undischarged bankrupt in Japan. The defendants applied for security for costs against the plaintiff. The application was successful, the defendants obtaining what appears to be the highest security for costs award against an individual in this Province, a strategic move after which the plaintiff abandoned the claim against the defendants.
- Boss Power Corp. v. British Columbia, 2013 BCSC 638 – Acted for the successful party in an application to enforce an alleged agreement in a commercial dispute involving mining claims expropriated by the Province.
- Felty v. Ernst & Young LLP,2013 BCSC 815 – Acted for an individual in a breach of contract and negligence claim against an accounting firm.
- Brausam v. Roland, 2011 BCSC 1349 – Acted for the defendant in a negligent misrepresentation claim arising from an investment made by the plaintiffs in a Ponzi scheme. The defendant was also a victim of the scheme. Although the defendant was found liable for negligent misrepresentation, the plaintiffs were also found to have been negligent and 40% of damages were apportioned to the plaintiffs.
- The Estate of Dennis Morgan, Deceased, v. Carol Fay Morgan, 2010 BCCA 299 – Acted for the successful party (Respondent) in an appeal by the deceased husband’s estate from an order declaring that the parties were still married on the date of husband’s death. The Court of Appeal upheld the order.
- Cosmetology Industry Assn. of British Columbia v. Nguyen, 2010 BCSC 1051 – Acted for the plaintiff, Association, in a fraudulent misrepresentation and breach of fiduciary duty claim against a former director.
- Acted in an arbitration hearing involving a mining company and one of its shareholders in a breach of contract case.
- Represented various clients, ranging from individuals and small businesses, to large corporations, in breach of contract, misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary duty and breach of trust claims in the context of various commercial disputes.
- Represented companies (large and small) in wrongful dismissal suits brought by former employees.
- Represented an oil tank manufacturer in several product liability suits.
- Represented land owners in expropriation claims against the Province and a municipality.
- Completed a 20-day trial in a $10 million commercial case involving an alleged verbal lease. The matter is under reserve.
- Acting for trustee in bankruptcy in inter-jurisdictional commercial matters related to the collection of large outstanding debts of bankrupt BC companies.
- Acting for a First Nations Band and its wholly-owned corporation in multiple wrongful dismissal suits by former executives, and in independent claims brought by the Band and the company against the former executives for breach of fiduciary duty, fraud and breach of contract.
- Representing a BC company in the business of global independent advisory and merchant banking services in a breach of contract dispute involving significant fees related to a $32 Million investment made in the defendant as a result of the plaintiff’s efforts.
Contaminated Sites Litigation and Risk Management / Advice
- Burnaby (City) v. British Columbia (Environmental Appeal Board), 2017 BCSC 2267 – Acted for City of Burnaby on a judicial review of the Board’s decision denying the City standing to appeal a certificate of compliance issued for lands owned by Suncor Energy Inc., adjacent to certain City lands for which Suncor also sought and obtained a certificate. Continuing to act for the City before the Environmental Appeal Board on appeal of the certificate of compliance issued for the City lands.
- Valhalla Court / Husky Oil Limited – Site Investigation Order of the Director, Environmental Management Act, May 20, 2014 – Obtained a site investigation order from the Ministry of Environment, pursuant to section 41 of the Environmental Management Act against the polluter, on behalf of a victim of contaminant migration.
- Burquitlam Building Ltd. and Morguard REIT v. British Columbia (Ministry of Environment),  B.C.E.A. No. 14 – Acted for the successful party in an appeal from the Ministry’s decision refusing to issue a certificate of compliance for a commercial property in Coquitlam, BC.
- Acted on behalf of former owners, operators and directors in the Gehring appeal, BC’s leading decision on allocation of clean-up costs for contaminated sites among responsible persons (matter resolved prior to hearing).
- Acted in numerous Supreme Court lawsuits involving claims for recovery of costs of remediation pursuant to the Environmental Management Act and common law.
- Defended environmental consultants and other experts facing negligence claims arising from investigation and remediation of contaminated sites.
- Advised various clients, including insurers, developers and other businesses (large and small) respecting strategies to assess and minimize environmental risk in a variety of circumstances, including in the context of a lease, purchase and sale, redevelopment, investigation/remediation, etc.
- Acting for the owner of a large commercial property in Vancouver that will undergo a major redevelopment. A historic dry-cleaner operated on the property and caused groundwater contamination of 17 parcels of valuable land primed or redevelopment. Assisting the client in obtaining the necessary legal instruments so that rezoning and redevelopment of the property can proceed, and advancing a cost-recovery claim against former owners and operators of the source property.
- Negotiated specific protective provisions in site access agreements, remediation agreements and purchase and sale agreements to minimize / allocate environmental risk.
- Assisted clients seeking instruments (certificates of compliance, etc.) and orders from the Ministry of Environment.
- Assisted clients facing requirements or orders from the Ministry of Environment.
- Advised executors respecting strategies to minimize environmental liability related to contaminated land in an estate.
- Acting for a large REIT in advancing and defending multiple lawsuits involving cost recovery claims arising from historic contamination of a large commercial property.
- Acting for a regional district to ensure compliance with the Environmental Management Act, its regulations and permits related to disposal of contaminated soils and hazardous waste.
- University of British Columbia, LL.B., 2007
- University of British Columbia, B.Sc., 2004
- British Columbia, 2008
- Co-Chair, Life In Law
- Board Member, Fertile Future Canada
- Mentor, Harper Grey Mentoring Program
- Member, CLEBC Women Thriving in Law Conference Advisory Committee
- Co-Chair, Harper Grey Environmental Law Group
- Assistant Chair, Harper Grey Real Estate Law Group
- Diversity Officer, Harper Grey
- Chair, Harper Grey Diversity Committee
- Co-Author, 4th Edition of British Columbia Environmental Management Legislation & Commentary, 2016, LexisNexis® Canada
- Member-at-Large, Environmental Law Subsection, Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch
- Member, Environmental Managers Association of BC (EMA)
- Member, BC Environmental Industry Association (BCEIA)
- Member, Commercial Real Estate Women’s Network (CREW)
- Member, Mortgage Investment Association of BC (MIABC)
- Member, BC Shopping Mall Association (BCSMA)
- Member, National Brownfield Association
- Member, Women in Energy Network
- Member, BC Expropriation Association
- Member, Canadian Urban Institute
- Member, The Law Society of British Columbia
- Member, Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch Subsections:
- Civil Litigation
- Insurance Law
- Women Lawyers Forum