Documents show Shellee Spinks, a law clerk in Hamilton, stole the millions from two estates and others by forging documents and selling estate assets. Spinks lost about $3 million of the money gambling at two Ontario casinos over a 14-month period between 2006 and 2008.
"While the action is by no means certain to succeed, nor is it necessarily certain to fail."
Casinos can't conduct 'individualized assessment': courtThe Appeal Court, citing complicated legal principles, rejected the conclusions. "Casinos cannot be expected to conduct an individualized assessment of each of their customers to determine the wisdom of the decision to gamble," Justice Gladys Pardu wrote on behalf of the majority. "However, more may be expected when an individual is obviously addicted to gambling and out of control." The court went on to say the "novel claims" at play deserve to be aired at trial so a court can properly decide whether it is fair to expect casinos to pay compensation for the steep social costs of gambling, and make judgments about the legal and policy issued raised.
Ontario Lottery and Gaming sign for slots with sculpture of Northern Dancer at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto. (Photo: Education Images/UIG via Getty Images)In a dissenting opinion that ran longer than the majority decision, Associate Chief Justice Alexandra Hoy said she would dismiss the appeal. Hoy said the estates had never alleged the casinos actually knew Spinks was a problem gambler or was wilfully blind to that fact. Hoy also said, among other things, that it would be unfair for the gaming corporation to have investigated the source of the money simply because Spinks held herself out to be a lawyer. She said the claim had no prospect of success and agreed with Hambly it should be struck. Spinks, then 47, was given a four-year sentence in August 2010 after pleading guilty to 16 criminal charges.
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