Languages Spoken

English and Spanish

Specialties

Personal Injury Litigation on behalf of injured victims specializing in Brain Injuries, Orthopaedic Injuries, Spinal Cord Injuries as well as complex liability cases, long term disability and employment issues relating to their injuries.

Moira Gracey B.A.(Hons), LL.B., LL.M.

Phone: 416.633.1065
Fax: 416.633.9782
Email: moira@carranza.on.ca
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Moira’s approach to law is to put her considerable academic skills to work in a meaningful way to improve her clients’ lives. She delves into research and writing, and identifies tough legal issues in order to prepare her client’s case. However, her learning does not end there. She finds out about her client’s social, family and financial needs and always puts them first. Moira’s motivation comes from making a personal connection with her clients and seeing her efforts make a difference in their lives.

With her full-service approach, Moira wants to ensure her clients understand every aspect of their case and that she understands their needs and objectives. She takes as much time as they need, and works hard to gain and maintain their trust. She is passionate about each and every client and their story.

From an early age, Moira knew she always wanted to help people—identify what’s wrong and fix it, for individuals and also at a policy level. In addition to her personal injury practice and administrative duties at the firm, she pursues an interest in international human rights through research, advocacy and teaching a course in indigenous rights. She coordinates the legal team representing Maya claimants in successful land claim litigation in Belize, and served as a judge on an International Opinion Tribunal concerning human rights violations in Colombia. At home, Moira participates in monthly free legal clinics for caregivers and temporary foreign workers organized by the Caregivers Action Centre.

Moira has represented clients in trials and hearings before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, the Financial Services Commission, and CPP Review Tribunal.

Moira also offers her clients strong intellectual and emotional support.

Education

  • Indigenous Peoples’ Law and Policy, University of Arizona (LL.M. 2005)
  • Called to Ontario Bar (2002)
  • Bachelor of Law, University of Toronto (LL.B., 2000)
  • Specialist Bachelor of Arts with distinction, University of Toronto (B.A. (Hons), 1991)

Achievements or Awards

  • Adjunct Professor at the University of Toronto's Faculty of Law
  • McCarthy Tetrault Award for Academic Excellence
  • Laskin Prize in Constitutional Law
  • Blaney, McMurtry Stapells Prize in Native Peoples Law
  • Law Society of Upper Canada Award for Academic Excellence
  • Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History Prize
  • S.J. Birnbaum Q.C. Scholarship Second Prize (shared)

Publications/articles

  • Lessons from a First Arbitration, The Litigator (July 2004)
  • Lessons on Logistics from a First Trial, The Litigator (April 2009)

Research acknowledgements in

  • Scheiderman, David, “Constitutional Approaches To Privatization: An Inquiry Into The Magnitude Of Neo-Liberal Constitutionalism” 63 Law and Contemporary Problems 83 (August 2000)
  • Anaya, S.J. and Robert Williams, “The Protection of Indigenous Peoples’ Rights over Lands and natural Resources Under the Inter-American Human Rights System” Harvard Human Rights Journal, Vol. 14, 2001;
  • Anaya, S.J. Indigenous Peoples in International Law, Second Edition, (Oxford University Press)
  • Anaya, S.J. International Human Rights: Problems of Law, Policy, and Practice Fourth Edition (Aspen Publishers, New York, 2006)

Noteworthy Cases

  • Sivananthan v. State Farm: Ms. Sivananthan suffered from claustrophobia and extreme anxiety attacks after a car accident. These problems prevented her from taking the elevator out of her apartment by herself, using public transit and getting to job interviews. State Farm argued that she was capable of sitting, typing, talking on the phone, filing, and other physical aspects of an office job and therefore not entitled to further benefits. The Arbitrator agreed with Moira Gracey that in examining a person’s ability to work, factors the ability to arrive reliably, be punctual, concentrate on her job tasks, such as respond competently to stressful situations, deal appropriately with co-workers and customers and other basic requirements of any job must be considered. Thus, Ms. Sivananthan was entitled to continue Income Replacement Benefits. State Farm then refused to pay interest on the Income Replacement Benefits. It had stopped paying Ms. Sivananthan Income Replacement Benefits after a Designated Assessment Centre report said that she could return to work, and argued that since was allowed to stop payment after a DAC report in its favour, the benefits were not ‘overdue’ until the Arbitrator ordered them paid. Joseph Campisi and Moira Gracey successfully argued that the insurer is responsible for paying interest on any benefits paid for a period when the injured person met the test of entitlement. Insurance companies have recognized that because of our success on appeal in this case, they will have to carefully evaluate the strength and quality of doctors’ reports before relying on them to terminate benefits - something we feel has always been their duty to their injured customers.
  • Re Maya Land rights and Maya Leaders Alliance & Toledo Alcalde Association v. AG Belize: For over a decade, the indigenous Maya peoples of southern Belize have been seeking legal recognition of their customary land rights. Moira coordinates the legal team representing Maya villages before the Belizean courts, with Belizean attorney Antoinette Moore, supported by the Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program in Arizona. In a landmark judgment in 2007, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Belize affirmed that the Maya villages do hold collective title to their lands based on their own customary land tenure system, and ordered the government to demarcate and issue titles to two Maya communities. He also prohibited the government from leasing, selling, or issuing concessions over those lands. In his decision, the judge also invoked international law, including the recently passed United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This decision has been called “an important precedent”, and was the first case in any domestic court, any court in the world, that not only looked to international law to articulate indigenous peoples’ rights, but also cited the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. The Maya people returned to court and in 2010 again won a judgment protecting all the southern Maya villages from interference with their lands. The appeal of this judgment is ongoing, and is expected to eventually be heard by the Caribbean Court of Justice.
  • Gomez v. Nguyen & Mr. Twister: The case concerned an 8 year old boy who ran from in front of an ice cream truck towards his house and was hit by a driver going the speed limit of 40km/h. A police reconstructionist at the scene had concluded that the accident was “unavoidable due to the actions of the child.” The boy sustained multiple fractures and a severe head injury, was in a coma for nine days, and hospitalized for over three months. He has, thankfully, recovered well from his physical injuries, but has frontal lobe impairments and will need lifelong therapy and support. At trial, the insurance company for the driver of the car adopted the opinion of the police investigator and took the position that the boy was primarily responsible, with some fault attached to the ice cream truck and the parents. Juan Carranza and Moira Gracey argued that the car and the truck were equally negligent. The jury held that the car driver was 50% at fault, the ice cream truck 46%, and the parents 4%. The boy’s behaviour was not judged to be outside the actions of a typical young boy in his circumstances. He was awarded over three million dollars in damages.