Via the Toronto Star, the news dropped like a bombshell and rocked the Toronto legal community:
A Toronto lawyer who launched a high-profile lawsuit on behalf of investors in the Trump International Hotel & Tower has left the country in the wake of allegations that “well in excess” of $3 million in trust funds is missing.
Litigator Javad Heydary, 49, was last heard from Nov. 15 when he told colleagues he had to return to his native Iran to tend to a sick relative.
The Law Society of Upper Canada alleges in a court filing this week that Heydary is being investigated for “misappropriation, mishandling trust funds, and failing to comply with a court order.”
In the face of the recent resignation of a number of well-respected lawyers from some half dozen boutique firms that Heydary ran in the heart of the financial district, the Law Society has taken over as trustee of the businesses.
My colleague, Selwyn Pieters, was among the first to pick up the story on The Twitter:
The timing of Heydary’s disappearance is in stark contrast to a recent Law Times story touting Heydary’s visionary, ground-breaking alternative law firm model:
Javad Heydary has a theory: the future of law belongs to large international and small boutique firms. So when he sought to expand his law firm a couple of years ago, he decided he didn’t want to go with something between those two extremes.
That’s when he came up with a model called “affiliated boutique firms.” Today, the Heydary law firms, besides Heydary Hamilton Professional Corp., include intellectual property practitioners at Heydary Hayes Professional Corp., family lawyers at Heydary Green Professional Corp., a litigation practice at Heydary Elliott Professional Corp., and real estate lawyers at Heydary Samuel Professional Corp.
Each firm is legally a separate entity as a professional corporation. Heydary is a shareholder in each of them. To his knowledge, no one else in the legal industry is using this business formula.
“The future of law, in my humble opinion, will be those large international law firms and boutique firms,” says Heydary. “I don’t see a future for smaller full-service firms. The market is shrinking. There’s too much competition.”
Erm, the future of law has not only left the building, he has left the country.
Based upon the affidavit filed by Law Society lawyer, Lawrence Hadbavny, Mr. Heydary left the country on Nov. 15. Heydary’s sudden departure coincided with the Law Society receiving a complaint from lawyer, Ray Thapar, that Heydary’s law firm was holding $3.6-million in trust, but had failed to fork it over. Heydary Hamilton PC was ordered earlier this month to deliver up $2.1-million and provide independent confirmation that the remaining $1.5-million plus interest remained held in trust. This was not done, and according to Hadbavny’s affidavit, only $319,067.82 is held in the firm’s trust account.
So, #WhereIsJavad ?
Again, via The Toronto Star:
Heydary, the father of four young children, is believed to have left for Abu Dhabi and then Iran the night of Nov. 15. A source told the Star Heydary’s wife has since been in touch with the firm, and even dropped in this week, to say her husband died on the weekend.
“the problems appear to be associated with activities unrelated to my practice. I have been advised of no problems with the accounts of Heydary Elliott PC.
“I have been co-operating fully with the Law Society. In the meantime, I will continue to provide exemplary service to my clients, as I have been doing for almost 30 years.”
Despite appearances to the contrary, Heydary was called to the Ontario bar in 2001. Some may know he was counsel of record in the well-known Hryniak appeal which dealt with, ironically, a civil fraud case and established the new “full appreciation test” for summary judgment, which Heydary himself argued recently before the Supreme Court of Canada. Some may question the Heydary “scorched earth” approach to litigation. Certainly, Mr. Justice Morgan was less than impressed in Hedary Hamilton PC v. Dil Muhammad, et al., 2013 ONSC 4938 (CanLII), concluding that the claims made against another lawyer relating to a fee dispute were so inadequate, they were irremediable:
 Each of the causes of action against Schorr in the Statement of Claim are either pleaded so baldly that they do not disclose the minimum level of material facts, Region Plaza Inc. v Hamilton-Wentworth (Regional Municipality) 1990 CanLII 6761 (ON SC), (1990), 12 OR (3d) 750, at paras 4-5 (Ont SC), or they fail as a matter of law in that they attempt to establish liability for non-actionable conduct. It is therefore “plain and obvious” that none of the causes of action pleaded against Schorr can succeed. Hunt v. T & N plc, 1990 CanLII 90 (SCC),  2 SCR 959, at para 30.
 Counsel for Heydary requests as an alternative form of relief that Heydary be granted leave to amend its pleading. That would not be an appropriate remedy here. The Statement of Claim is not merely missing some details of the allegations against Schorr; it is missing any cause of action against him that is viable at law.
 It is clear to me that, as this court has said on analogous occasions, “the plaintiff is unable to improve its case by amendments to the claim.” WP (33 Sheppard) Gourmet Express Restaurant Corp. v WP Canada Bistro & Express Co., 2010 ONSC 2644 (CanLII), 2010 ONSC 2644, at para 53 (SCJ). The claim against Schorr is therefore dismissed without leave to amend.
His personal bio is, to say the least, odd. A charitable view is that Heydary is a victim of his own hubris; casting a reflection like the Greek tragic figure, Narcissus staring lovingly into the pond, while Echo pines away. Others may identify Heydary as Icarus, flying too close to the sun:
Nowadays, having managed a number of successful companies, including a few law firms and having become a $1,000 an hour lawyer in the process, Javad was ready to retire, but then realized that he has not had the chance to fully utilize all of the lessons that he has learned over the past 40 years managing businesses – hence, Octagon Law Group.
Javad does provide a glimpse into his future plans:
Those working with him at Octagon (over 20 lawyers, business executives and other professionals who all claim to be very smart) tell him that Octagon Law Group will transform the legal industry on a global scale but for his part, Javad’s ambition at Octagon is somewhat more modest – he hopes:
to get a few hugs (from his wife of 20 years);
to get a few more hugs from his four children before his two daughters and two sons continue the family tradition (going back four generations) of parting ways with their father and striking out on their own to seek their own fortunes;
to live long enough to see many smiles on the faces of his colleagues and friends who are the main assets of Javad Inc.;
to figure out the statement “there is only one thing going on here”; and
most importantly, to have the opportunity to enjoy a few more ice cream cones – even if his rear-end is still throbbing from the thrashing he is sure to get from life….
The hugs and ice cream cones will have to wait. The Law Society has a different lagniappe in mind.
Well, it appears that the reports of Mr. Heydary’s death have not been greatly exaggerated. Via the Toronto Star:
A funeral was held in Richmond Hill on Monday for lawyer Javad Heydary, one day before he was scheduled to be sentenced for defying a court order to repay $2.1 million his firm was holding in trust for a Mississauga couple.
The Law Society of Upper Canada, which seized control of Heydary’s practice on Nov. 25, is awaiting confirmation of his death, spokesman Roy Thomas said.
Thomas declined to comment on the date and time of the reported death. Heydary, 49, is believed to have fled to his native Iran in mid-November amid allegations that more than $3 million in trust funds was missing.
In an email obtained by the Star, Margaret Cowtan, a manager in the Law Society’s trustee services department, said that Heydary’s body was repatriated on Friday.
The program from Toronto lawyer Javad Heydary’s funeral includes a translation of a poem by 13th century Persian writer Rumi.zoom
“Arrangements have been made to have an independent (third) party view and I.D. the body before interment,” Cowtan said. “The Law Society will also be seeking further official documentation confirming his death.”
Cowtan said she did not anticipate receiving that confirmation in time for the court hearing on Tuesday morning, but she added that “it would appear any sentencing for personal contempt is now moot.”
The Law Society of Upper Canada says it is 80% certain Mr. Heydary is dead. The other 20% remains unaccounted for, as do the Heydary client trust funds.
If Mr. Heydary is deceased, it is a sad and tragic end. Condolences to his family and his colleagues. Let’s hope his former clients succeed in recovering their losses.
Well, the Law Society of Upper Canada now says it is 100% certain Mr. Heydary is dead: Law society confirms death of lawyer Javad Heydary (via Toronto Star):
The Law Society of Upper Canada has confirmed to the media that Toronto lawyer Javad Heydary has died, but has not yet shared this information with the lawyer fighting to retrieve $3.6 million in missing funds a Mississauga couple entrusted to Heydary’s firm.
Lawyer Ray Thapar, who is representing Hasan and Samira Abuzour, said he would have “absolutely” expected the law society to notify him upon confirmation of Heydary’s death.
“They understand we’re a very interested party,” he said. “I’m somewhat surprised that we weren’t advised.”
Thapar also questioned whether the law society’s apparent decision to send one or two of Heydary’s former associates to identify his body was sufficient.
“I would have expected that there would be something a little more thorough. I thought they were planning to do some independent scientific tests to confirm that the remains were that of Javad Heydary,” he said.
The evidence the law society appears to have gathered “is not the best evidence that could have been obtained,” he said.
Law society spokesman Roy Thomas told the Star on Wednesday that the regulator has confirmed Heydary has died. Thomas would not comment on the cause and time of death or how the law society verified this fact. He did not respond to questions about why Thapar was not notified.
For the Law Society of Upper Canada to send one or two of Heydary’s former associates to identify the body, is…unconventional. This story might be of interest to any aspiring wannabe legal thriller novelists or Law & Order screenwriters. Look out, John Grisham.