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JohnF

John L. Finnigan

jfinnigan@tgf.ca
416.304.0558416.304.0558

Bio

John has a broad practice in complex commercial litigation with significant experience in insolvency and restructuring litigation. John has been lauded as “a spectacular lawyer in huge insolvency proceedings” and “a very credible, no-nonsense litigator who is extremely effective in court” in Chambers Global.

John is consistently recognized as one of Canada’s top lawyers in the Lexpert/American Lawyer Guide to the Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada, as a leading lawyer for US/Canada Cross-border Litigation in Lexpert and is recommended in dispute resolution (Canada) by Chambers Global. The 2017 Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory lists John as a leading lawyer in three practice areas: Litigation – Corporate Commercial, Insolvency Litigation and in Financial Restructuring.

Representative Mandates

  • Senior litigation counsel representing the Trustees of the UK Pension Plan and the UK Pension Protection Fund (on behalf of 42,000 UK pensioners with a US$3 billion pension plan deficit) in successfully obtaining a groundbreaking pro rata allocation among the global Nortel Networks insolvency estates following an unprecedented joint trial of the Canadian and U.S. Courts, involving $7.3 billion in proceeds.
  • Senior litigation counsel on behalf of the UK Pension Claimants in successfully proving and obtaining an Order allowing a CDN$600 million claim against the Canadian Nortel estate following its disallowance by the court-appointed Monitor.
  • Court-appointed counsel representing 630,000 policy holders in the demutualization of Economical Mutual Insurance Company. Mandate to represent policy holders in negotiation of the allocation of $2 billion in benefits among policy holders. Cutting-edge mandate in first-ever demutualization of a property and casualty company in Canada.
  • Acted on behalf of a committee of contesting bondholders in the BCE privatization, which involved the world’s largest leveraged buy-out with an enterprise value of $52 billion, ultimately appearing at the Supreme Court of Canada.
  • Court-appointed litigation counsel to the Litigation Trustee of Cash Store Financial Services Inc.
  • Acting on behalf of a power producer in a nine figure damage arbitration against a provincial government agency for the cancellation of a contract to build a power plant.
  • Acting on behalf of the Ontario Municipal Employees’ Retirement System before a major municipal judicial inquiry.
  • Representing the former principal of Lakeport Brewing Corp. in the defence of a $50 million officer and director liability case. The case resulted in an $1.8 million cost award in favour of TGF’s client.
  • Lead litigation counsel to KPMG Inc., in its capacity as receiver in the receivership and bankruptcy of the Portus Group of Companies, which involved over $800 million of investor funds at risk in Canada’s largest hedge fund scandal.
  • Acted on the prosecution of claims against, and ultimate bankruptcy of, Boaz Manor arising out of the Portus insolvency.
  • Lead litigation counsel to the receiver, RSM Richter Inc., in the Norshield hedge fund scandal involving the tracing and attempted recovery of over $400 million in funds in several jurisdictions.
  • Counsel to a committee of unsecured bondholders of Calpine Corporation subsidiaries in oppression proceedings, as well as the subsequent cross-border restructuring of Calpine and its subsidiaries.
  • Represented General Motors Corporation in troubled supplier litigation to secure its automotive manufacturing supply chain.
  • Acted on a significant $250 million commercial arbitration on behalf of a private power company in connection with a declaration of force majeure under a power purchase agreement by a leading pulp and paper company.

Representative Mandates

Nortel Networks: Canadian Insolvency Counsel for the UK Pension Claimants, the largest single creditor in the worldwide Nortel Networks proceedings - $4 Billion.

Canadian counsel to the Trustees of Nortel Networks UK Limited’s Pension Trust and the Pension Protection Fund throughout the unprecedented trials and appeals.

Cash Store: Court-appointed litigation counsel to the Litigation Trustee of Cash Store Financial Services Inc.

Court-appointed litigation counsel to the Litigation Trustee of Cash Store Financial Services Inc. 

Lakeport Brewing: A D&O liability claim that resulted in a $1.8 million award

Defended the former principal of Lakeport Brewing Corp. in the defence of a $50 million officer and director liability claim.

Represented General Motors Corporation in troubled supplier litigation to secure its automotive manufacturing supply chain

Represented General Motors Corporation in troubled supplier litigation to secure its automotive manufacturing supply chain. 

Acting on behalf of a committee of contesting bondholders in the BCE reorganization, which involved the world's largest leveraged buy-out with an enterprise value of $52 billion

Acting on behalf of a committee of contesting bondholders in the BCE reorganization, which involved the world's largest leveraged buy-out with an enterprise value of $52 billion.

Calpine: Counsel to a committee of unsecured bondholders of Calpine Corporation subsidiaries in oppression proceedings

Counsel to a committee of unsecured bondholders of Calpine Corporation subsidiaries in oppression proceedings, as well as the subsequent cross-border restructuring of Calpine and its subsidiaries

Norshield

Litigation counsel to the receiver, RSM Richter Inc., in the Norshield hedge fund scandal involving the tracing and attempted recovery of over $400 million in funds in several jurisdictions. Involved cross-border proceedings in the United States, Barbados and the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. 

Counsel to the Receiver: Portus Group of Companies

Lead litigation counsel to the receiver of the Portus Group of Companies, which involved over $800 million of investor funds at risk in Canada's largest hedge fund scandal.

Portus: Counsel for the Court-appointed Receiver of the Portus Group

TGF represented the Court-Appointed Receiver of the Portus Group of Companies appointed upon the application of the Ontario Securities Commission pursuant to the Securities Act (Ontario). Investors were owed approximately $790,000,000.  They recovered 93.13 cents on the dollar of their claims. The largest asset of the Estate were principal protected notes issued by a Canadian Bank which, after extensive negotiations, agreed to prepay the notes on a commercially reasonable basis. The case also involved pursuing monies misappropriated from the Portus Group by one of its principals through various jurisdictions in the Caribbean, Europe, Hong Kong and Israel arising out of the Portus insolvency.

Professional Involvement

John is a frequent speaker at CLE events. He has spoken at The Advocates’ Society Fall Convention on the use of the receivership remedy in investment fraud cases, and to the Insolvency section of the Ontario Bar Association on minimizing investor losses in Ponzi schemes. John recently conducted a live demonstration of an effective cross-examination and spoke on a panel discussing advanced cross-examination techniques at The Advocates’ Society Program “Cross-Examination: Strategies for Success”.

Formerly, John instructed the Civil Procedure section of the Ontario Bar Admission course. The University of Western Ontario, Faculty of Law awarded John the Carson-Killeen Award for Oral Advocacy. John is active as a director of Worldwide Orphans Foundation of Canada, a charity dedicated to improving the lives of institutionalized orphans throughout the world.

John is a member of:

  • The Advocates’ Society
  • INSOL International
  • Toronto Lawyers Association
  • Canadian Bar Association
  • Ontario Bar Association, Civil Litigation Section

Recognition

John is recognized as a leading lawyer in:

  • The Best Lawyers in Canada® 2018 (Corporate and Commercial Litigation)
  • The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory 2017 (Litigation – Corporate Commercial), (Insolvency Litigation) and (Financial Restructuring)
  • Lexpert/American Lawyer Guide to the Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada 2017
  • Lexpert 2016 Guide to the Leading US/Canada Cross-Border Litigation Lawyers in Canada (Insolvency and Financial Restructuring)

Education

  • J.D. (Western), 1982

Thornton Grout Finnigan LLP, Suite 3200, 100 Wellington Street West, P.O. Box 329, Toronto-Dominion Centre, Toronto, ON M5K 1K7 Canada T 416.304.1616 E info@tgf.ca

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