chapman-fired

Alex Chapman had been seeking $10 million in a lawsuit filed against Manitoba lawyer Jack King. ((CBC))

A man who claims he suffered emotional distress when he was asked to have sex with a Manitoba lawyer — who later became a judge — has had his lawsuit thrown out of court.

A Court of Queen's Bench justice has dismissed Alexander Chapman's lawsuit against Jack King. The judgment was released Tuesday in Winnipeg.

In his decision, Justice John Menzies wrote that Chapman has no right to sue after signing a confidential settlement agreement with King seven years ago. As part of the release, Chapman promised not to take legal action against King, his partners or the law firm. 

'To allow the matter to proceed further would be an abuse of process.' —Justice John Menzies

"I find the defendant has satisfied me that the claims advanced by the plaintiff were settled in 2003 … and to allow the matter to proceed further would be an abuse of process," he wrote.

King's lawyer, Bill Gange, suggested that Tuesday's ruling was a vindication.

"When a person settles a claim that they have, that ought to be the end of the matter," Gange said. "Canadian law is very clear."

Further, Menzies agreed with Gange that Chapman's claim exceeded the six-year limit under the Limitation of Actions Act.

"The plaintiff executed the release [agreement] in July of 2003, seven years before this cause of action was commenced," Menzies wrote.

At a hearing on Oct. 26, Chapman's lawyer, Paul Walsh, said his client was not under the impression that his legal rights had been compromised by the release.

Menzies dismissed that argument in his decision, stating that "a misunderstanding of one’s legal rights does not operate to extend a limitation period."

Walsh said Tuesday evening that Chapman plans to appeal Menzies's ruling to a higher court.

International headlines

Chapman made international headlines when he launched three lawsuits seeking a total of $67 million. One was against King for $10 million, another against King's wife, Lori Douglas, for $7 million and the third against the Winnipeg law firm Thompson Dorfman Sweatman for $50 million.

He filed the actions on Sept. 1, claiming he was harassed and suffered emotional distress when King tried, but failed, to get him to have sex with Douglas in 2003.

At the time, both King and Douglas were partners at Thompson Dorfman Sweatman.

Douglas, who is now an associate chief justice of the Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench, has temporarily stepped aside from her duties as a sitting judge but remains with the court in an administrative capacity.

2 lawsuits dropped

Chapman dropped the lawsuit against Douglas three weeks later, then dropped the claim against the law firm in late October.

Chapman first met King in 2002, when he retained the lawyer to handle his divorce. King showed him sexually explicit photos of Douglas, naked in various forms of bondage, in chains, with sex toys and performing oral sex.

jack-king

Jack King has been charged by the Law Society of Manitoba with three breaches of the code of professional conduct. ((CBC))

That information has been admitted to in court documents submitted by King.

At some point, Chapman, who is black, said King, who is white, also directed him to a porn website devoted to interracial sex, particularly between black men and white women.

When his divorce was concluded, Chapman filed a complaint to the managing partners at the law firm. Soon after receiving the complaint, King left the firm and signed a confidentiality agreement with Chapman, who was paid $25,000.

After seven years of silence, Chapman decided to file the complaint with the law society. He also decided to go public with his allegations at the end of August, telling CBC News he felt distraught about the matter.

Gange told CBC News in August that his client was suffering from depression at the time of the incident cited by Chapman.

King's wife, Douglas, didn't know he was soliciting a client to have sex with her, Gange said.

He also said King took time off work on a sick leave after his interaction with Chapman and was put under the care of a doctor.

The saga is not over yet, however, as the Law Society of Manitoba has charged King with professional misconduct and the Canadian Judicial Council is investigating Chapman's complaint against Douglas.

The charges against King have yet to be proven in a disciplinary hearing, which includes two lawyers and one member of the public. No date has been set for that hearing.

In his decision, Menzies stated that although the confidential settlement with King prevents him from suing, it does not prevent him from making disclosure to the Law Society of Manitoba as part of his complaint.

With files from The Canadian Press