Jeff is a partner of Rush Ihas Hardwick LLP and regarded as among British Columbia’s most skillful commercial litigators. Jeff is sought after by companies and high-net-worth individuals for his experience resolving complex civil disputes and high-value family litigation where business interests are at stake. With a track record of success in hard-fought trials and precedent-setting appeals, Jeff has what it takes to win in court.
Having built his practice in Kelowna, Jeff has deep knowledge across an unusually broad range of industries and legal fields. Jeff’s corporate clients run the gamut; they include global petrochemical conglomerates, resource extraction companies, large-scale real estate developers, highly-skilled professionals, and local tourism and hospitality operators. Jeff also has extensive experience acting for business owners mired in shareholder, joint venture, partnership, transactional and family law disputes.
Jeff has uncommon expertise dealing with disputes involving intellectual property and natural sciences. As a patent and trademark agent in both Canada and the United States, who also holds a Masters degree in Applied Science (Electrical Engineering), he has a firm grasp of both intellectual property law and technical issues. Jeff has prevailed in lengthy trials involving challenging scientific evidence from multiple experts, and successfully resolved patent disputes concerning oilfield, transportation and forestry technologies.
Jeff’s background in engineering and experience as a judicial law clerk at the British Columbia Supreme Court informs his exacting approach to litigation. That approach begins with applying his broad experience in complex cases to identify strengths and develop creative strategies for early resolution. Very few civil litigators in the BC Interior have experience prevailing in long, complex trials, and Jeff’s courtroom bona fides give him the credibility to drive his clients’ most important disputes to advantageous amicable resolution.
Jeff knows that litigation outcomes only count if they serve larger client objectives. His long-standing clients value his ability to both ‘see the field’ and ‘see cases to the end’ when required.
Speaking Engagements and Publications
- The Advocates’ Society, panel chair, “Mind the Skills Gap: Lessons in Court Practice and Decorum”, 2023
- The Advocates’ Society, contributing author, Delay No Longer. The Time to Act Is Now, 2023
- Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch, presenter, “Top Ten Cases from 2022”, 2023
- Thompson Rivers University, guest lecturer, civil procedure, “Document Discovery”, 2021
- Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch, presenter, “Contractual Duties of Honesty in Performance and Good Faith in Exercising Discretion”, 2021
- Kelowna Chamber of Commerce, presenter, “Fiduciary Duties of Directors”, 2021
- Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch, presenter, “Problem Real Estate Closings: Tools for a Faltering Deal”, 2020
- J. Edward Maybee prize (Highest overall mark in 2010 patent agent examination)
- Marie F. Morency Memorial prize (Highest proficiency in patent drafting in 2010 patent agent examination)
- University of British Columbia, Raymond G. Herbert Award in Law (Best all-round graduating student)
- University of British Columbia, Wesbrook Scholar
- Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Canada Graduate Scholar
- Years-long engagement in a long-running and highly contentious separation of interests in a nine-figure family-owned real estate enterprise that involved arbitral proceedings and court proceedings in multiple jurisdictions
- Lead counsel for a 12-week trial and three-day appeal arising from a catastrophic debris flood in the North Okanagan, resulting in a multi-million dollar damages award, precedent setting interpretation of the Water Act and the first pure economic loss award on the basis of “joint or common venture” since that claim was recognized by the Supreme Court of Canada in 1991
- Experience in multiple different arbitrations arising from disputes between former law firm partners and real estate development joint venturers
- Successful resolution of patent infringement claims concerning oilfield, transportation and forestry technologies
- Obtained a declaration of breach of trust against a rogue company director who misappropriated GST collected by the company in breach of statutory deemed trust; this declaration proved instrumental in protecting the client against liability to CRA
- Lead counsel in a five-week multi-generational family law trial, presently under appeal
- Law Society of British Columbia, Member
- The Advocates’ Society, Member British Columbia Regional Advisory Council
- Intellectual Property Institute of Canada, Member
- Canadian Bar Association, Member
- Kelowna Bar Association, Member
- Kelowna Chamber of Commerce, President (2020-2022), Vice President (2019-2020), Director (2012-2019)
- Kelowna Youth Soccer Association, Boys soccer coach (2019-present)
- First Glenvalley Scouts, scouter for Scouts (2021), Cub Scouts (2018-2021), and Beaver Scouts (2016-2018)
- Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Kelowna Chapter Vice President (2012-2014)