Barbara A. MacFarlane

Barbara joined the partnership at Legate in 2018 after enjoying a 30 year career at a well-respected Downtown Toronto law firm. She shares the values of excellence in personal injury litigation and service to clients that Legate exemplifies. Barbara takes pride in assisting people with the challenges and changes that injuries bring to their lives and families. She is passionate about helping people achieve the best recovery they can.

Trial Experience

Barbara is experienced in trial counsel with a proven track record of successful results for clients who have suffered serious or catastrophic injuries or lost a loved one as a result of wrongdoing. She has been recognized by her Peers in Best Lawyers in Canada and Lexpert.

Medical Malpractice Expertise

Barbara MacFarlane focuses her litigation practice on medical negligence, catastrophic injury and fatalities. Her cases include birthing injuries, delayed diagnosis, surgical mistakes, wrongful death, motor vehicle accidents, product liability, tavern liability, and multifaceted negligence cases.
Barbara has appeared as lead appellate counsel in the Ontario Court of Appeal. She regularly represents clients in the Superior Court, at coroners’ inquests and various administrative tribunals. Barbara has been involved in many complex litigation matters, including class actions.


Called to the Ontario Bar, 1999
LLB/JD Osgoode Hall Law School, 1998

Professional Affiliations

  • Law Society of Ontario
  • Canadian Bar Association
  • Ontario Bar Association
  • Advocates’ Society
  • Ontario Trial Lawyers’ Association
  • American Association for Justice
  • American Bar Association

Representative Work

$1.7 million jury award achieved for a child who suffered a permanent brachial plexus birthing injury resulting in an inability to use his arm and hand in any significant way. The award included the anticipated impact on his future earning potential and care needs throughout his life time.

$3 million jury award achieved for a young man who had a promising career as a commercial airline pilot and his family. He was diagnosed with cancer in his liver after routine blood tests. 14 months earlier a radiologist had missed the cancer obvious on a CT scan.

$1 million jury award achieved for the spouse and sisters of a woman who died as a result of the delay in diagnosing her breast cancer. The radiologist missed the findings on the woman’s mammogram resulting in a significant delay in cancer treatment, causing her cancer to spread and become incurable.

$3 million jury award achieved for the wife and three boys of a dentist who was killed in the parking lot of a tavern. A scuffle broke out near the victim and in the course of the Tavern’s Bouncer breaking up the fight the victim was knocked to the ground suffering a fatal blow to the head. A civil lawsuit was brought against the tavern, its manager, and its bouncer. The jury found the tavern and its employees a total of 85% at fault for what happened. The victim was found 15% at fault for drinking excessive alcohol. The case significantly clarified the obligations of the hospitality industry and had major implications for insurance companies, business owners and employers.

$2.5 million settlement achieved as co-counsel in a medical malpractice case involving the failure to diagnose warning signs that lead to a stroke resulting in permanent paralysis and impairments requiring ongoing care and inability to earn income.

$6 million settlement achieved as co-counsel to child injured at birth by an Obstetrician. The child’s delivery was delayed, despite indications of severe fetal distress requiring an expedited delivery. As a result of the delay, the child suffered a permanent brain injury requiring ongoing assistance to carry on his activities of daily living. A civil lawsuit was commenced but settlement was achieved, rendering a trial unnecessary.

$8 million settlement achieved as co-counsel to a child permanently brain injured in a motor vehicle accident. After a severe broadsided collision, a five year old child was rendered unconscious and remained in a coma for about 30 days. Her severe brain injury impacted all aspects of her daily living requiring extensive rehabilitation and care needs. A civil lawsuit was commenced and proceeded through to trial. Two weeks into the civil trial, a settlement was achieved for the child and her family.

Publications and Speaking Engagements

Barbara is a frequent speaker at Continuing Legal Education seminars sponsored by the Ontario Trial Lawyers’ Association, the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Ontario Bar Association and other legal associations. Barb has been called upon to contribute to submissions to the legislature on proposed legislation. She is a former Instructor for the Law Society of Upper Canada Bar Admission Course and former Advisor/Consultant, Law Society of Upper Canada, Bar Admission Course.

Some of her speaking engagements include

Osgoode Hall Law School Professional Development – Intensive Trial Advocacy Workshop, Guest Instructor (July 2018)

The Law Society of Ontario: Best Practices in Medical Malpractice (June 2018), as a panelist speaking on Tips for Making Pleadings Useful

Ontario Trial Lawyers’ Association, Annual Spring Conference: Strategies and Tactics for Medical Malpractice Trials (May 2018) as a panelist on Jury Trials

Ontario Trial Lawyers’ Association, Annual Spring Conference: Strategies and Tactics for Medical Malpractice Trials (May 2018), speaking on Proving Causation and Damages in Late Diagnosis of Cancer Cases

Ontario Trial Lawyers’ Association, Women Trial Lawyers Caucus: Getting to First Chair (March 2018), co-presented with Adam Wagman on Strategies for Opening and Closing Statements to a Jury

Advocates’ Society: Tricks of the Trade 2018 (January 2018) as a panelist speaking on Challenging Jurors in Civil Cases

Ontario Trial Lawyers’ Association Advanced Trial Series Webinar – Part 4: Crossing the Finish Line (October 2017), co-presenting with Loretta Merritt on completing Jury Trials

Ontario Bar Association, Health Law Litigation: Hot Topics in Medical Malpractice Litigation (October 2017), panelist

Ontario Trial Lawyers’ Association Webinar – Proving Causation and Damages in Late Cancer Diagnosis Cases (July 2017), co-presenting with Jillian Evans

Osgoode Hall Law School Professional Development – Intensive Trial Advocacy Workshop, Guest Instructor (July 2017)

Ontario Bar Association, Health Law Section: Medical Malpractice 101 – Practical Strategies panelist (April 2016)

Ontario Trial Lawyers’ Association, Medical Malpractice Annual Conference (February 2016) speaking on Shoulder Dystocia and causes of Brachial Plexus Palsy, including birthing injuries

Ontario Bar Association, Insurance Law Section: Understanding Back Pain (December 2015) speaking on cross-examination of physician.


Barbara A. MacFarlane. “Cancer Malpractice Cases: Proving the Die is not Cast” Litigator (2015)

Barbara A. MacFarlane and Loretta Merritt. “Concurrent Criminal and Civil Cases: Making the Most of Evidence”, Litigator

Barbara A. MacFarlane and Marco P. Falco. “Medical Malpractice Law: Intricacies of the Common Law”, Annual Review of Civil Litigation p. 489

“Trends in Shoulder Dystocia Cases: Non-negligent Causes of Brachial Plexus Palsy”, Ontario Trial Lawyers’ Association Medical Malpractice Round Table: July 2014

Barbara A. MacFarlane. “Full Appreciation” and A Contextual Approach to Summary Judgment Motions Ontario Bar Association – Health Matters: Health Law Section Newsletter (April 2012)

Barbara A. MacFarlane. The Apology Act, 2009 – “Can doctors apologize?” Torkin Manes Focus. 2009; Fall: p. 3.

Barbara A. MacFarlane. Adjuster”s Liability – “Should I Be Concerned?” Ottawa Valley Adjusters Association (2004-2005 December)

Barbara A. MacFarlane. To Serve or Not to Serve? paper written for Durham Region Safer Bars Workshop (2002 to 2005).

Barbara A. MacFarlane. Courts Shut Door on Examinations Under Oath, The Lawyers Weekly Vol. 19, No. 7 (June 18, 1999

Community Involvement

Member of the Canadian Paraplegic Association
Member of the Ontario Brain Injury Association
Volunteer Scouts Canada

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