Lawyers owe a duty of care to client, not complainant, when retained by employer to investigate harassment complaint, judge rules, rejecting allegations of negligence

A court dismissed a complainant’s claim against a lawyer retained by her employer to act as a workplace investigator into her harassment complaint. The complainant had alleged that the lawyer had conducted a poor investigation that ultimately led to the complainant’s dismissal. Holding that lawyers generally owe a duty of care only to their own clients, and not to third parties, the court ruled that there were no exceptional circumstances to warrant a ruling that the lawyer owed a duty of care to the complainant in this case. The court also ruled that the claim was statute-barred as it was filed after the expiration of the two-year limitation period in Ontario’s Limitations Act.