$1.8 million diminished earning capacity for non-working plaintiff.

On May 20, 2014, the BC Supreme Court addressed the difficult problem of assessing damages for a lifetime of disability for a plaintiff who has not yet entered the workforce. In Hermanson v. Durkee, 2014 BCSC 877, the plaintiff was involved in a motor vehicle collision and suffered a severe traumatic brain injury which rendered him competitively unemployable.  He was 18 at the time, had just graduated high school and had not entered the workforce.   He “did not excel academically” and “it became apparently that post-secondary education was not likely or realistic“. The court had to assess...

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Mediation discussions not always confidential.

On May 8, 2014 the Supreme Court of Canada carved out an important exception to the promise to keep mediation discussions confidential. Companies and their insurers rely on private mediators to settle lawsuits partly because what is discussed at mediation stays confidential. This ensures that business strategy stays under wraps and public scandal for mistakes is avoided. In 2011, Bombardier and Union Carbide tried to settle a decade-long $32,000,000 court battle through mediation. In 1997, 1998 and 2003, Bombardier bought gas tanks from Union Carbide to use in Sea-Doo personal watercraft. In...

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A release will not be enforced if it is against public policy.

On April 30, 2014, the BC Court of Appeal ruled in Niedermeyer v. Charlton [2014] B.C.J. No. 763, that a release signed by a plaintiff participating in a zip line activity did not defeat her claim for injuries sustained in a motor vehicle collision on the defendant zip line operator’s bus travelling from the zipline area. The release was contrary to public policy, which did not allow an owner/operator of a motor vehicle to contract out of liability for damages for injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident.. The plaintiff appealed the decision of the lower court, which at summary...

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Reasonable notice for the senior short term employee.

  If you are a senior employee who has been fired after only a brief period of employment, there is a good chance you will end up with more severance than you expected – unless of course you are subject to an air-tight termination clause in your contract. Whether, as some have suggested, you may be entitled to 6 months pay is an open question. In his leading text on wrongful dismissal law in Canada, David Harris considers a number of court decisions involving the dismissal of senior level, short term employees and concludes:  Accordingly, it appears, barring any unusual circumstances,...

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Contingency Fees – FAQ’s.

What is a Contingency Fee Agreement? A Contingency Fee Agreement (CFA) is a contract between a law firm (or lawyer) and the client in a case where legal fees are payable as a percentage of the amount recovered as damages. Under a CFA, the legal fees are payable only if the case is successful. This means that, if the case is not successful, the client does not pay any legal fees. The CFA must be in writing and signed by both the client and the lawyer. What type of cases use a CFA? Mostly, a CFA is used in personal injury or wrongful death matters. It is also frequently utilized in some...

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