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Bernice R. Bowley

Bernice R. Bowley

TEL: (204) 957 8353

FAX: (204) 954 0353

Email:

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Legal Assistant:
Dana Granger

TEL: (204) 956 2970 ext. 253

Email:

"My strengths are cost-effective, proactive and results-oriented litigation. With two decades of experience as a litigator, I can provide sound advice on efficient litigation strategy or when and how to choose alternative resolutions. "

Areas of Focus

Bernice is a partner of Fillmore Riley LLP and maintains a comprehensive insurance litigation practice including commercial liability insurance, general insurance defence, professional errors and omissions, product liability, construction, and coverage disputes. She also practises in the areas of municipal liability, administrative law, and employment law.

Bernice's clients include the Municipal General Insurance Program maintained by the Association of Manitoba Municipalities and the Liability Insurance Program handled by the Manitoba School Boards Association. She is the Manitoba lawyer for a number of health-care professional liability programs. Her clients include a variety of other Canadian, American, and international insurance companies.

She has appeared before all levels of court in Manitoba, as well as the Manitoba Labour Relations Board, Automobile Injury Compensation Appeal Commission, and the Appeals Commission, and the Federal Court of Canada. She was counsel to E. Elder in Henderson v Elder. In 2017, the Manitoba Court of Appeal confirmed the trial decision which held that there was no evidence of negligence, carelessness or intent to injure on the part of the unidentified player or the volunteer coach. Henderson's case was dismissed. His application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada was also dismissed.

Bernice also counsels and represents clients in Alternative Dispute Resolutions and mediations.

 

Professional Activities

  • Member, Canadian Bar Association
  • Member, Manitoba Bar Association
  • Member, Management Committee, Fillmore Riley LLP
  • Chair, Litigation Practice Group
  • Chair, Municipal Law Practice Group
  • Chair, Library Committee

Publications / Presentations

Representative Clients / Cases / Transactions

Representative Clients 

  • Counsel to and engagement partner for the Municipal General Insurance Program which provides liability and other insurance to all municipalities in Manitoba, other than the City of Winnipeg
  • Counsel to and engagement partner for the Manitoba School Boards Association insurance program, which provides liability and other insurance to school divisions in Manitoba
  • Western Financial Insurance Group Solutions
  • Sovereign General Insurance Company
  • American International Group, Inc.
  • Various professional liability insurance programs for health-care professions

Representative Cases 

  • Henderson v. Canadian Hockey Association Inc. et al, 2016 MBQB 51, Henderson v Elder, 2017 MBCA 45, 2018 CanLII 1153 (SCC) Following a trial in the fall of 2016, Bernice was successful in dismissing the statement of claim brought against the volunteer coach of the peewee hockey team following incidental physical contact between the plaintiff referee and a peewee player.  The plaintiff referee sought to hold Bernice’s client, the volunteer coach, responsible for damages arising out of the contact.  The trial Judge held that the plaintiff failed to meet his onus in establishing negligence and his claim was dismissed with costs. Following an appeal in 2017 by the plaintiff referee, the Manitoba Court of Appeal upheld the trial judge’s dismissal of the statement of claim, writing that there was no evidence of negligence, carelessness or intent to injure on the part of the unidentified player or the volunteer coach, and that he had failed to meet his burden to establish liability. In 2018, the plaintiff referee sought leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. His leave application was dismissed.
  • Susinski et al. v. Municipality of Shoal Lake et al., 2017 MBQB 132 (CanLII) The plaintiffs claimed for house damage resulting from the municipal low-pressure sewer system.  Bernice acted for the municipality and brought a successful summary judgment motion.  The Court held that the plaintiffs failed to present sufficient evidence to show that the municipality’s standard of care was improper or that it breached the standard of care both in relation to the design and construction of the system, and with respect to post-construction issues.  The Court agreed that the plaintiffs could not establish a cause of action per the Rule in Rylands v. Fletcher.  The Court also applied section 395 of The Municipal Act and found that the municipality was not negligent.  The plaintiffs’ claim was dismissed.  
  • Rochelle v. R.M. of St. Clements 2014 Man. C.A.
  • Bernice Bowley is defending the Rural Municipality of St Clements and others against a claim by the self-represented Rochelles.  She sought to bring the case into the case management process available under the Court of Queen’s Bench Expedited Action Rule.  This is the first appellate application in Manitoba of the Supreme Court of Canada decision in Hryniak v. Mauldin.  Hryniak changed the status quo on a number of important civil litigation issues.  Hryniak, and now Rochelle in Manitoba, say that proportionality is a fundamental consideration for access to civil justice and the proportionality principle means that the best forum for resolving a dispute is not always the one with the most painstaking procedure.  So, although the plaintiffs claim more than $2 million in damages, the defendants were successful in bringing the case under the Expedited Action Rule 20A for reduced value matters in order to avail themselves of the case management provisions in Rule 20A.  
  • 4726031 Manitoba Ltd. V. A Stepping Stone Adult Learning Centres Inc., 2012 Man. Q.B. trial decision
  • Bernice Bowley defended the Seven Oaks School Division against an action which alleged conspiracy, inducing breach of contract, and wrongful interference with economic relations.  After trial, the plaintiff’s action against the Division was dismissed in its entirety, with costs ordered against the plaintiff.