Strong and spirited advocacy.
Rachelle T. Villanueva is a civil litigation lawyer who stewards her own practice in the downtown core of Toronto. It is her mission to deliver intelligent, compassionate and strategic advocacy at accessible rates.
Since her call to the Ontario Bar in 2008, Rachelle has spent half of her legal career as a plaintiff lawyer and the other half as an insurance defence litigator. She has both sued and defended a majority of insurance companies in Ontario. Rachelle's blended experience gives her advantageous insight on what drives parties on both sides of a dispute, setting her apart from other lawyers.
Rachelle's passion for lawyering translates into all aspects of work that she does for her clients. She acts as trial counsel in complex disability benefits, accident benefits, tort MVA and occupier’s liability claims for Toronto area personal injury law firms. As a plaintiff lawyer in her first year of practice alone, she recovered over $1M in settlement monies on behalf of her clients. She employs respect and compassion while maximizing plaintiffs' claims against insurance companies. As an insurance defence litigator, Rachelle works closely with claims adjusters to negotiate claims and defend matters at trial and arbitration. She conducts rigorous factual examinations to craft a staunch defence while gauging appropriate reserves from start to finish.
Rachelle devotes a section of her practice to Access to Justice (civil litigation) clients. The changing legal climate has augmented her drive and determination to champion social justice issues that are distinctly aligned with her personal values. She takes a keen interest in Charter rights, human rights and anti-racist advocacy. She regularly volunteers for Pro Bono Ontario, providing summary legal advice to those in need.
Beyond practising law, Rachelle is a creative spirit at heart: she is a vocalist, guitarist and lover of literature and visual arts.
REPRESENTATIVE DEFENCE LITIGATION CASES
Trial Counsel and Agency Work
Rachelle collaborates with law firms as trial counsel in personal injury and insurance litigation matters. Work includes consultation, legal research, trial preparation and attendance as lead counsel or agent at Examinations for Discovery, Pre-Trials, Trial, Case Conferences, Arbitrations and contested motions.
Rachelle represents individuals in select small claims, superior court and tribunal matters in both plaintiff and defence capacities. Practice areas included uninsured defence litigation, as well as contractual and consumer protection disputes.
As defence counsel, Rachelle represents insurers in accident benefits, tort and occupier’s liability matters. She appears at discoveries, mediation and hearings at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice and the License Appeal Tribunal. She values conducting rigorous factual examinations to craft a staunch defence while gauging appropriate reserves.
Access to Justice
Rachelle represents select individuals to provide access to affordable legal representation in social justice matters. She takes a special interest in Charter rights, human rights and anti-racist advocacy.
Somwaru v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. (FSCO - January 2017) Arbitrator Murray, M. Rachelle successfully effected the dismissal of the Arbitration against State Farm Insurance and got costs awarded in favour of the insurer.
Filazzola v. Campbell (ON SCJ - November 2016) Kristjanson, F. Rachelle successfully defended against a summary judgment motion for the dismissal of a cross-claim against the co-defendant. She got costs awarded in favour of her client.
Nagalingam v. The Personal Insurance Co. (FSCO - October 2016) Arbitrator Smith, A. Rachelle successfully effected the dismissal of the Arbitration against The Personal Insurance on a second claim brought about by the Applicant, who was found to be abusing the Arbitration process.
Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. (ON SCJ - September 2016) Rachelle successfully brought a motion for summary judgment to have the claim against her client, State Farm Insurance, dismissed in its entirety with costs.
Bhullar v. Unifund Assurance Co. (FSCO - September 2015) Arbitrator Sherman, I. Rachelle brought a successful motion for productions and the subsequent dismissal of the Arbitration against Unifund Assurance, with costs awarded in favour of the insurer.
McDonald v. The Personal Insurance Co. (FSCO - October 2015) Arbitrator Davies, J. Rachelle successfully effected the dismissal of the Arbitration against The Personal Insurance Company and got costs awarded in favour of the insurer.
Walsh v. The Personal Insurance Co. (FSCO - March 2015) Arbitrator Osunde, I. Rachelle successfully effected the dismissal of the Arbitration against The Personal Insurance Company and got costs awarded in favour of the insurer.
EDUCATION AND ACCREDITATIONS
Master of Laws
OSGOODE HALL LAW SCHOOL
LL.M. courses included: Teaching, Training and Coaching (ADR) with an emphasis on Alternative Dispute Resolution.
Juris Doctorate (Conferred)
WESTERN LAW SCHOOL
Received honorary recognition for advocacy skills in the Borden Ladner Gervais Client Counselling Competition and the Cherniak Cup Trial Advocacy Competition. Gained early litigation experience by serving as a Caseworker for the Western Law Legal Clinic with carriage of criminal, landlord/tenant and civil litigation files. Promoted to Supervisor based on solid performance in her Litigation Practice course while serving as Caseworker.
Law School Exchange Program
ESADE LAW SCHOOL (BARCELONA, SPAIN)
Recognized as best student in Esade Law School's Negotiation Skills course. Completed law courses in both English and Spanish.