Long Term Disability Section
The Long Term Disability Section is dedicated to enhancing the ability of OTLA members to seek redress for clients in conflict with their disability insurers. OTLA lawyer members may join for an additional annual fee of $125.00.
Najma Rashid LTD Section Chair
Najma Rashid joined Howard Yegendorf & Associates in 1999 and became a partner of the law firm in 2009. Her practice is devoted exclusively to personal injury litigation and she is well versed in Ontario’s Insurance Act and its Regulations, including the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule.
Najma has represented seriously injured clients in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, as well as in dispute resolution proceedings before the Financial Services Commission of Ontario. Najma has developed an expertise in disability and bad faith claims against insurance companies. She is Chair of the Long-Term Disability section of the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association (OTLA). In 2015, she helped organize and co-chair a conference devoted entirely to Long-Term Disability (LTD) Insurance.
In order to advocate effectively on behalf of her clients, Najma has had to learn about the unique challenges that face each of her injured clients. She keeps herself informed of developing medical issues pertaining to such conditions as chronic pain syndrome, spinal and muscular injuries, mild and catastrophic brain injuries and psychological injuries such as depression and post-traumatic stress.
Nainesh holds a wealth of experience having appeared in trials with and without a jury at the Superior Court of Justice and the Ontario Court of Justice. He has represented clients and conducted appeals at the Federal Court level, Trial division. Nainesh has appeared before numerous Tribunal panels including; the Financial Services Commission and the Social Security Tribunal. He has featured in several televised interviews on the subjects of Personal Injury and Long Term Disability claims.
Nainesh Kotak LTD Section Vice-Chair
Nainesh Kotak’s practice includes a heavy emphasis on long-term disability cases.
Nainesh is active in the community and supports many worthy charities and causes. Each year he brings a thousand troops, veterans and cadets to a professional hockey game in a Remembrance Day event known as Kotak Law Military Appreciation Day.
Further, he is the founder of Kotak’s Heroes. He brings out individual soldiers and their families to a Brampton Beast ECHL game and covers their costs.
Nainesh is a proud contributor and supporter of Wounded Warriors Canada and The Peel’s Children’s Centre.
Nainesh hosts the inductees to the Brampton Sports Hall of Fame annually at his box suite at a Brampton Beast hockey game.
Nainesh is a Vice Chair of the board of Spectra Community Support Services, which is an organization that provides a 24-hour hotline to those in crisis. He is a Board of Director of the Peel Children’s Centre.
Nainesh also serves as the Vice Chair of the Long Term Disability Section of the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association. He is also on the Board of Directors of the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association.
Medical Malpractice Section
OTLA members with interest in medical malpractice issues may join this section; providing they are able to certify that 0% of their direct or indirect billings or time is derived from the defence of medical malpractice actions. Members are provided with access to the section's Listserve, resource materials and regular education programs. Membership is restricted to OTLA members and requires an additional annual fee of $125.00.
Ryan Breedon Medical Malpractice Section Chair
Ryan Breedon has a general litigation practice including both commercial and personal injury litigation. He acts for both plaintiffs and defendants.
Prior to founding his own firm, Ryan was a partner in the country’s leading litigation boutique, where his practice included representing doctors and other defendants in medical malpractice and personal injury cases, as well as a wide range of commercial litigation, including construction and employment law.
Ryan has conducted many trials throughout Ontario before judges and juries, and has appeared before a wide range of administrative tribunals. He is regularly retained as trial counsel by other firms. He is recognized by both Lexpert and Best Lawyers for his expertise in medical malpractice and other matters.
Ryan teaches trial advocacy at Osgoode Hall Law School and at the Intensive Trial Advocacy Workshop. He regularly speaks and writes on civil procedure and evidence.
David Derfel Medical Malpractice Section Vice-Chair
David Derfel was called to the Bar in Ontario in 2002 after completing law school at the University of Windsor. David also possesses a honours commerce degree from York University. Prior to establishing Derfel Injury Law in 2014 David practiced law at a prominent mid-sized Toronto law firm. David eventually became a partner of the firm involved in many of important decisions regarding the firm’s personal injury practice.
At the firm David gained knowledge and expertise in many areas of law including criminal defence, commercial litigation, insurance defence litigation and corporate/commercial law. This broad exposure to many areas of law early in his career has enabled David to identify and address many the issues that can arise in a personal injury claim that other lawyers many not. An accident, injury or illness can impact every aspect of one’s life and David’s experience with multiple practice areas distinguishes him from other lawyers who may only identify some of the issues.
For many years David’s practice has been focused almost exclusively on plaintiff personal injury claims. Access to justice has always been important to David. The University of Windsor’s Faculty of Law where David attended law school is focused on access to justice and it was a key consideration in where he went to law school and a large component of the many of the courses he took. Facing multi-billion and multi-national insurance companies in defence of the individual is what drives David to excel in his practice. David believes that without access to justice advocates, those who are injured and disabled are left to fend for themselves before the insurmountable power of insurance companies. Following the important lessons he learned when a law student, David focuses his efforts to even the playing field and bring to account those companies that deny and delay what is necesssary to get his clients better, back on their feet and fairly compensated. Without access to justice there is no justice at all.
David has been a presenter on legal issues related to personal injury at conferences, in hospitals and other professionals on matters such as chronic pain, the Insurance Act, how to structure large personal injury settlements and how to access alternative funding before a claim settles. David has represented clients in jury and non-jury trials in the Superior Court of Justice and before administrative tribunals including the Financial Services Commission of Ontario and the CPP Appeals Tribunal. Having acted for clients at trial, David knows every aspect of a claim from the beginning to conclusion at trial.
David is a member of the Law Society of Ontario, the Ontario Trial Law Association, the American Association for Justice and the Florida Justice Association.
New Lawyers Division (NLD)
All members of OTLA who have been practising for less than 10 years may participate in OTLA's New Lawyers Division. Officially formed in May 1995, the NLD seeks to specifically address the needs and interests of new lawyers through conferences and events. NLD gatherings provide valuable networking opportunities which enable new lawyers to get together to socialize, discuss common concerns and experiences, and to help each other by sharing ideas. The NLD also has its own Listserve.
Louis DelSignore New Lawyers Division Chair
Louis DelSignore Jr. practised for a number of years in New York prior to bringing his impeccable credentials and qualifications to the practice of personal injury law in Ontario. He enjoys teaching and public speaking and often mentors Articling Students, Summer Students and Associates.
In addition to Louis’ extensive experience, he is highly regarded in the legal industry and community. Regularly invited to speak and lecture at local, national and international conferences, Louis is also a frequent guest speaker at various hospitals, clinics, and other health-related organizations. Passionate about giving back to the community, Louis is actively involved with numerous events, organizations and charitable initiatives.
Women Trial Lawyers Caucus
The OTLA Women Trial Lawyers Caucus was formed in the spring of 1998 to offer events specifically geared to the interests and needs of women litigators. The Women's Caucus gatherings provide valuable networking opportunities to enable women lawyers to socialize and discuss common concerns and experiences.
Ines Jelic Women Trial Lawyers Caucus Chair
My compassionate yet competitive spirit fuels my desire to be a strong advocate for my clients by working together to obtain the best, most cost-effective and time-efficient resolution possible.
My practice consists of helping individuals who have been injured in car collisions, slip and falls, and as a result of medical malpractice. I also handle breach of contract cases in Long Term Disability claims, Accident Benefits claims and labour and employment law matters.
I immigrated to London, Ontario in 1997 after my family fled the civil war in Bosnia in 1992 and found temporary refuge in Germany. In 2005, I moved to Ottawa to attend Carleton University, where I earned an Honours Bachelor of Journalism and Law degree (B.J.). I continued my studies at the University of Ottawa where I received my Juris Doctor in 2013.
When not in the office, I can be found volunteering in the community or playing sports. I am currently the President of The Rehabilitation Centre Volunteer Association’s Board of Directors, Chair of the Women Trial Lawyers Caucus of the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association (OTLA), a non-voting member of the Board of Directors of OTLA, and a member of the Women’s Business Network. I love to embrace new challenges and welcome opportunities for new adventures.
Law Clerk Section
OTLA's Law Clerk Section meets twice annually at the OTLA Spring and Fall Conferences, plus round table meetings are organized throughout the province. The Law Clerk Section has an active Listserve.
Amela Selimovic Law Clerks Section Chair
Amela Selimovic is a law clerk who has worked exclusively for plaintiffs in personal injury law since 2009. Prior to commencing employment with Ross & McBride LLP in May 2015, she worked at a mid-size personal injury firm in Hamilton.
Over the years, Amela has handled a wide variety of claims, such as motor vehicle collisions, medical malpractice, slip and falls, assault and long-term disability claims, with a primary focus on accident benefits and tort motor vehicle cases. She is a member of the Ontario Trial Lawyer’s Association and is the 2018-19 Law Clerk Section Chair.
In her spare time, Amela supports her local community by participating and volunteering at various fundraising events, is an avid runner and enjoys Bikram yoga.
Barbi Andrews Law Clerks Section Vice-Chair
Barbi Andrews has been with Gluckstein Lawyers since 2001 working within the accident benefits department advocating for client’s benefits. Barbi has 18 years of experience administering Personal Injury claims. She is a licensed paralegal with the Law Society of Ontario.
Prior to working in Personal Injury law, Barbi was a teacher at George Brown College and a private business college. She obtained a B.Sc. at the University of Toronto and B.Mus. at Brigham Young University, Utah, USA.
She has participated in numerous conferences as a guest speaker and was Co-Chairperson of the 2012 Spring Conference. In September 2015, Barbi was honoured with the OTLA Distinguished Law Clerk Award which is awarded to a senior law clerk who has consistently exemplified the mission of the organization.
Barbi is involved in various volunteer programs with the Native Canadian community and also conducts motivational seminars and speeches.
Barbi is presently attending Ryerson University on a part-time basis within the Occupational Health and Safety Management Degree Program. She graduated from the University of Toronto, Theology Degree Program in 2012 and is an ordained Minister.
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