Insuring both tortfeasor and victim creates conflict.

On April 24, 2015, a 3-judge panel of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice – Divisional Court, held that where an insurer insures both the tortfeasor for liability coverage and the victim for accident benefits, the insurer should set up a firewall so that information gathered by it regarding the accident benefits claim is not available in the tort action. In Dervisholli v. Cervenak the plaintiff insured was involved in a motor vehicle collision. The insurer insured both the plaintiff’s vehicle and the defendant’s vehicle under separate automobile policies. The plaintiff brought...

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Manulife tried to use maternity leave to reduce bonus, and lost.

On April 22, 2015, the Supreme Court of British Columbia ordered Manulife  to pay damages of over $140,000 to a recruiter of financial advisors in a wrongful dismissal suit. The decision is noteworthy in that the court refused to allow Manulife to use its employee’s maternity leave as a reason to reduce her bonus payment. In Sowden v. Manulife Canada Ltd., the court ruled that Manulife owes damages to former employee Janice Sowden after she was dismissed in a “corporate restructuring”. In an earlier decision the court ruled, after a summary trial, that Sowden was entitled to...

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Life insurance claim denied for misrepresentations.

On March 3, 2015, the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal upheld the denial of a widow’s application for life insurance benefits following the death of her husband, the insured, because the insured had materially misrepresented his medical history in his application for life and disability insurance. In Linden Estate v. CUMIS Life Insurance Co., an insured applied for life and disability insurance. The application included a supplementary health questionnaire to be completed over the telephone. The questionnaire included questions about the insured’s medical history. The insured was asked whether he...

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Motor vehicle lessor liability cap confirmed.

On November 6, 2014, the BC Court of Appeal released an important judgment concerning the liability limit of motor vehicle lessors for accidents involving their lessees or drivers operating leased vehicles with the lessee’s permission. Background In British Columbia, the Motor Vehicle Act makes owners, lessees, and lessors of vehicles vicariously liable for accidents committed by drivers of leased vehicles. While a permitted driver or a lessee is liable for the full extant for any damages flowing from the accident, the Motor Vehicle Act limits the liability of lessors. The limit of...

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Failure to provide policy or application extends limitation period.

On  November 4, 2014, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice found that an application for long-term disability benefits under a policy issued to his employer, submitted two and a half years after the deadline, was not submitted out of time because the insured had not been provided with the policy or claims documents by his employer. In Nguyen v. SSQ Life Insurance Co., 2914 ONSC 6405, the insurance company made an application to dismiss Mr. Nguyen’s claim for long-term disability benefits under a group policy issued to his employer, on the basis that the claim was made out of time. Mr....

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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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