Peter R. Senkpiel
Mr. Senkpiel is an experienced trial lawyer, appellate counsel, and advocate. He became a full partner of the firm in January 2018.
Mr. Senkpiel specializes in civil litigation, with particular focus on complex business disputes, including:
Corporate and Shareholder Disputes.
Domestic and International Arbitrations.
Real Estate and Property Disputes.
Unjust Enrichment Claims.
Product Liability and Complex Torts.
Professional Liability Claims.
Mr. Senkpiel is also experienced in administrative law matters, sealing orders/publication bans, personal injury claims, and public law.
Benchmark Litigation has recognized Mr. Senkpiel as a Future Star in Litigation and selected Mr. Senkpiel to its "40 & Under Hot List" for 2018.
Mr. Senkpiel regularly appears as counsel in the British Columbia Supreme Court and Court of Appeal. He has appeared as counsel in the Supreme Court of Canada on McCormick v. Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP and Sun-Rype Products Ltd. v. Archer Daniels Midland and Others.
Mr. Senkpiel has an interest in the application of law to advances in science, medicine and technology. For example, in Niemela v. Google, Mr. Senkpiel acted as co-counsel for Google in having a defamation claim against it struck out on the basis that Google was not a publisher of the allegedly defamatory content contained in its “snippets”. This case was the first time in Canada that a court considered whether an internet search provider is a publisher of defamatory material identified or contained in its search results.
In addition to his appellate experience in the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court of Canada, Mr. Senkpiel has taken over as the author/editor of the leading text in British Columbia on appellate practice, the Civil Appeal Handbook. He is also Co-Chair of the Appellate Advocacy subsection of the CBABC. He is also the founding editor of the B.C. Civil Appeals Netletter, a monthly publication that reviews and comments on significant judgments from the British Columbia Court of Appeal and provides information about important developments at the Court.
Mr. Senkpiel is an Adjunct Professor at the UBC Faculty of Law, where he teaches a course on the law of Restitution and Unjust Enrichment. He is also Co-Chair of the CLE Restitution Course (2014).
Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Senkpiel served as the judicial law clerk to the Chief Justice of British Columbia, the Honourable Lance Finch, at the British Columbia Court of Appeal.
Mr. Senkpiel's experience includes:
In Telus Communications Inc. v. Golberg, Mr. Senkpiel acted as counsel for the defendant in successfully opposing an injunction application seeking to prevent the defendant from working for Rogers Media in what was alleged to be a breach of his restrictive covenant with his former employer, Telus. The court found the restrictive covenant unenforceable.
In Kowalski v. Daski, New Wave, et al., Mr. Senkpiel acted as counsel in successfully obtaining an injunction on behalf of Daski and New Wave preventing Mr. Kowalski and his company, Blu-Water LP Ltd., from breaching a restrictive covenant that Mr. Kowalski agreed to when he sold his Daski to New Wave in 2014 for approximately $7m. The restrictive covenant prevented Mr. Kowalski and his affiliates from competing in relation to frac water management in the oil and gas industry in BC and Alberta.
In DNM Systems Ltd. v. Lock-Block Canada Ltd., Mr. Senkpiel successfully represented the petitioners on a petition seeking to set aside a domestic arbitration award on the basis that the arbitrator exceeded his jurisdiction by erroneously piercing the corporate veil to add parties to the arbitration.
In Geocomp Data Management Inc. v. International PBX Ventures Ltd., Mr. Senkpiel successfully represented the defendant (International PBX), a mining company involved in the promotion and development of mineral properties in Chile, at trial. Geocomp’s claims against the company for breach of contract and unjust enrichment were dismissed. International PBX’s counterclaim for unjust enrichment, alleging that the company’s former CEO, Sookochoff, had acted in bad faith and had breached his fiduciary duties and duty of care owed to company, was allowed.
In R. v. Imperial Tobacco Canada Ltd., Mr. Senkpiel was co-counsel for a leading plaintiffs’ class action firm in British Columbia in a disqualification motion brought by the Tobacco defendants that engaged unique issues of conflicts. The firm was successful in having the defendants’ application dismissed.
In Stevested Machinery & Engineering Ltd. v. Metso Paper Ltd., Mr. Senkpiel was co-counsel for Metso Paper Ltd. at trial and on appeal in a claim for breach of contract and unjust enrichment.
In Giuffre v. Nevada Copper Corp., Mr. Senkpiel represented the plaintiff in successfully resisting the defendant’s application to set aside a pre-judgment garnishing order.
In Delizia Ltd. v. Nevsun Resources Ltd., Mr. Senkpiel acted as co-counsel for Nevsun on appeal in successfully setting aside a multi-million dollar garnishing order, in a proceeding that engaged issues relating to the law of piercing the corporate veil and the State Immunity Act.
Partnership/Human Rights Law Disputes
In McCormick v. Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP, Mr. Senkpiel was co-counsel for a leading national law firm before the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada in relation to a former partner’s human rights age discrimination complaint. McCormick was listed by Lexpert Magazine as one of the top 10 business cases of 2014.
In Niemela v. Google, Mr. Senkpiel was co-counsel for Google in having a defamation claim against it struck out on the basis that Google was not a publisher of the allegedly defamatory content contained in its “snippets”. This case was the first time in Canada that a court considered whether an internet search provider is a publisher of defamatory material identified or contained in its search results.
In Behan v. Park, Mr. Senkpiel was co-counsel for the successful plaintiff in an 18 day civil jury trial for sexual assault.
In Northwest Organics Limited Partnership v. Maguire, Mr. Senkpiel successful represented the plaintiff in the Court of Appeal in an appeal that engaged issues relating to defamation, civil procedure, and alleged SLAPP litigation.
Oppression Claims/Securities/Shareholders Disputes
In Telus Corp. v. Mason Capital Management LLC, Mr. Senkpiel was co-counsel for Mason Capital, an American hedge fund, in a corporate battle against Telus. The case was notable for its compressed time frame—the trial was heard in early September 2012, and the appeal was expedited and heard by the Court of Appeal in early October 2012. Lexpert Magazine has referred to this case as “an epic shareholder dispute that demanded inter-firm teamwork and strategic vision.”
In Icahn Partners LP v. Lions Gate Entertainment Corp., Mr. Senkpiel was co-counsel for a New York hedge fund both at trial and on appeal in a shareholders’ oppression action seeking to set aside transactions converting approximately $110 million from debt to equity. This matter was successfully defended on its merits within three months of the disputed conversion.
In Western Wind Energy Corporation v. Savitr Capital, LCC, Mr. Senkpiel was co-counsel for Savitr Capital in an application by Savitr for an order under s. 186 of the Business Corporations Act that the Court appoint an independent chair for Western Wind’s General Meeting.
In Sun-Rype Products Ltd. v. Archer Daniels Midland and Others, Mr. Senkpiel was co-counsel, before the Supreme Court of Canada, for one of the defendants in a class proceeding alleging a conspiracy to fix prices in the sale and distribution of high-fructose corn syrup. Part of what is described as the Supreme Court’s “Class Action Trilogy”, Lexpert listed this as one of the “Top Ten Cases of 2013”.
Bachelor of Arts (Honours), University of British Columbia, 2006.
Juris Doctor, University of Toronto Faculty of Law, 2009.
Clerkship / Admissions
Law Clerk to Chief Justice Lance Finch, British Columbia Court of Appeal, 2009-2010.
Admitted to the British Columbia Bar, 2010.
Author/Editor of the Civil Appeal Handbook.
Contributing author, “Evidence”, Annual Review of Law and Practice, 2009-2015 (CLE).
Co-Chair and Contributing author and presenter, CLE BC’s Restitution Course (2014): Change of Position (and other restitutionary defences).
“Three’s a Crowd: Third-Party Litigation Funding of Class Actions in Canada”, Canadian Class Action Review, Vol. 5, No. 2, August 2009.
Other professional activities
Member of the Advocates Club, 2014-present.
Adjunct Professor at the UBC Faculty of Law (course on the law of Restitution and Unjust Enrichment).