Judge Corriveau Staying On Case

Published: April 3, 2009 09:58 am EDT

After more than two weeks of deliberation, Montreal Superior Court judge Chantal Corriveau has decided not to withdraw from the ongoing legal proceedings relating to the creditor protection of racetrack operator Attractions Hippiques


She said it would be "prejudicial" to the case to do it at this point, after 18 days of hearings and 12 judgments rendered since June of 2008.

Lawyers for the horsemen and breeders had requested she step down because the judge's husband, David Collier, is an associate of a law firm representing Attractions Hippiques' lenders, whose legal fees in the matter are being paid by the racetrack company.

In a 16-page ruling that also awarded costs to Attractions Hippiques, the judge said she was denying the request for recusal because the lenders in general, and her husband in particular, aren't participants in the matters before the court. That was clearly established from the outset of the creditor-protection process in June of 2008, she said.

The agreement to cover the lenders' legal fees dates was struck before any legal proceedings were initiated, she added.

"No reasonably informed person could conclude there'd be reason to fear for conscious or unconscious partiality (from the judge)," she wrote.

Horsemen's lawyer Daniel Des Aulniers had argued that the $300,000 paid to her husband's firm by Attractions Hippiques was money that should have gone to purses.

Attractions Hippiques has been in creditor protection since June. It's in the process of requesting a further extension. There's been no live racing in the province to date this year.

(A Trot Insider exclusive by Paul Delean)