The Yukon government is seeking to have former employee Juanita Wood declared a vexatious litigant. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

Yukon government applies to have former employee declared vexatious litigant

Juanita Wood has pursued various actions against the Yukon government since being fired in 2015

A former Yukon government employee who has pursued various legal actions after being let go from her job as a heavy equipment operator in 2015 should be declared a vexatious litigant, a lawyer for the territorial government argued in court July 19.

Arguing an application originally filed to the Yukon Supreme Court in May, Yukon government lawyer I.H. Fraser said that Juanita Wood has shown a record of abusing court process, launching what he counted as six separate proceedings over the same incident — the fact that she was terminated from her position while still on probation.

Wood, who has been representing herself through all of the proceedings and also did so in court July 19, disagreed, argued that she had valid reasons to pursue the actions.

Since her termination in 2015, Wood has filed unsuccessful complaints to the the Yukon Workers Compensation Health and Safety Board and Yukon Human Rights Commission, a lawsuit against the Department of Highways and Public Works and three petitions to the Yukon Supreme Court seeking judicial reviews of her firing. Of the legal actions, the lawsuit and a petition have been struck (Wood unsuccessfully tried to appeal the striking of the lawsuit to the Yukon Court of Appeal and is appealing the striking of the petition), one was dismissed with consent of all parties and the third petition is still underway.

The Yukon government’s application is asking that Wood be declared a vexatious litigant, that she be prohibited from filing lawsuits without leave from the court, that her current petition be dismissed and that the Yukon government be awarded costs.

In his submissions, Fraser argued that the courts are a “finite resource,” and the point of declaring someone a vexatious litigant is not to prohibit access to the courts, but ensure that courts have control over their processes to serve everyone better.

Fraser noted that one of Wood’s previous petitions had been dismissed by Yukon Supreme Court Justice Leigh Gower on the grounds that it was vexatious and that the lawsuit contained “no reasonable claim or cause of action,” that the Yukon Human Rights Commission had also declared her complaint vexatious and that she herself had withdrawn her appeal of her unsuccessful complaint to the Workers Compensation Health and Safety Board.

With two courts — the Yukon Supreme Court and Court of Appeal — striking down her claims on three separate incidents, Fraser argued that it was clear that Wood was taking vexatious actions that are “utterly devoid of merit.”

In her reply, Wood said that she had no choice but to abandon her appeal to the Yukon Workers Compensation Health and Safety Board because she couldn’t get clear answers on the process, and that she agreed to the dismissal of one of the petitions because she couldn’t justify spending more money on a process she thought was unlikely to yield positive results.

She conceded that one of her petitions to the Yukon Supreme Court was found to be vexatious, but argued that the Yukon Court of Appeal did not explicitly repeat that opinion, which she believed was intentional.

Wood also said that as a layperson without legal training, she found the processes sometimes confusing or poorly laid out, but that she’s never conducted herself in an inappropriate manner.

“I’m not vexatious, your honour,” she said.

Yukon Supreme Court Deputy Justice Gisele Miller reserved her decision.

Contact Jackie Hong at jackie.hong@yukon-news.com

This story has been updated to clarify the nature of Wood’s legal actions.

Just Posted

Former board member worries Many Rivers could drown in debt

Skeeter Wright says the new board won’t be able to pay debts left by its predecessor

Record medal haul for Team Yukon at Western Canada Summer Games

Nine medals — three silver and six bronze — put the Yukon fourth in the medal standings

WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World

Yukon Energy granted amendments to its water licence for Mayo Lake

The company has been ordered to create a draught plan and monitor fish

Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation wants to be carbon neutral by 2030

A resolution was passed on Aug. 10 to start laying the groundwork

YCCMA Mosquito Harescramble includes record numbers for return of ladies class

“I think it’s a good indication it’s turning to a family sport versus what it has been in the past”

Yukonomist: Fun facts for your next violent barbecue debate about government jobs

Have you ever been at a barbecue where someone starts talking loudly… Continue reading

Yukon disc golfers compete in Trilogy Challenge

“We definitely are seeing a lot of new people starting into the sport”

History Hunter: New book celebrates Yukon’s most colourful hotel

If the walls could talk, what tales they would tell. But the… Continue reading

River Trail Marathon tests runners with heat and sun

“It was very hot in the second half, but the volunteers are amazing and there is water often”

Chili and Beans Race the perfect recipe for a rainy day

“It’s good. Especially in these conditions because you know you have a warm bowl of chili waiting”

Most Read