TORONTO – Claims of fraud, owed money and abusive behaviour between a prominent employment lawyer and his former bookkeeper have been withdrawn, a colleague of the lawyer said Friday.
In an email to The Canadian Press, Sunira Chaudhri did not elaborate on why the situation changed a day after the news agency published a story on the legal spat between Howard Levitt and Theda Lean.
“All allegations were withdrawn by both parties,” Chaudhri said.
Chaudhri did not respond to requests to discuss the issue further, and Lean’s lawyer refused to comment.
Levitt, who writes a column on employment law for the National Post and appears on Toronto radio station Newstalk 1010, had accused Lean, a former auditor for the Law Society of Upper Canada, of being a “fraudster” involved in “criminal activity” that he said he reported to police and professional authorities.
In his statement of claim filed with Ontario Superior Court — which Chaudhri said had now been withdrawn — the Toronto-based Levitt sought $25,000 in various damages from Lean for what he alleged was overbilling, fraudulent hours and double-billing during her time working for his new law firm Levitt and Grosman starting last September.
In a defence and counter-claim that Chaudhri said had also been withdrawn, Lean also sought $25,000 in damages for unpaid work, constructive dismissal and mental distress, called Levitt a “bully and an abusive, incompetent manager.”
She also denied any fraudulent billing and, in a complaint to the law society, called him a “disgrace” to the legal profession.
Levitt, who bills himself as “Canada’s best known and most quoted authority on employment law,” denied owing any money or that he inflicted any mental distress on his ex-employee.
He did not respond to repeated requests for comment.