$140,000 for “very serious” femur fracture.

On August 29, 2013, the BC Supreme Court assessed damages for a serious femur injury and moderate wrist in jury. In Han v. Chahal the plaintiff pedestrian was injuries when she was struck by the defendant’s vehicle while walking in a marked cross walk.  The defendant was found fully responsible for the crash.  The plaintiff suffered a variety of injuries the most serious of which was a fractured femur.  Although the Court found some issues with the plaintiff’s reliability as a witness the Court did accept the injury left her with a degree of chronic pain and limited function.  In assessing...

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Knock down the house of cards.

On August 23, 2013 a judge of the Supreme Court of BC held that when opinion evidence is introduced into court the factual underpinnings upon which the opinion is based must be proven, otherwise the opinion evidence is of no value. In Paller v. Regan, 2013 BCSC 1672, the plaintiff was injured in a 2009 collision. ICBC admitted the defendant was at fault but disputed the collision caused any injuries. In support of their position they relied on an orthopaedic surgeon who never examined the plaintiff but provided an opinion that it was “unlikely” the plaintiff’s injuries were caused by the...

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One judge’s clarity is another’s ambiguity.

On June 4, 2013, the BC Court of Appeal reversed a trial decision in McLean v. Canadian Premier Life Insurance, 2013 BCCA 264,and in an unanimous decision allowed the appeal and held that the insured was entitled to the $1 million benefit provided by the policy. The McLean appeal decision is an interesting example of how one judge’s clarity is another’s ambiguity. The trial judge found that “the words of the contract are clear and unambiguous” and held that the loss did not come within the policy terms. Specifically, holding that at the time of the loss the deceased insured was not a...

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Insurer who honours policy may still breach the duty of good faith.

On February 25, 2013, the Ontario Court of Appeal substantially allowed an appeal from a lower court decision striking out numerous claims in a proposed class action relating to the sale and administration of four types of life insurance policies. In Kang v. Sun Life, 2013 ONCA 118, the Court of Appeal held that plaintiffs’ claims for breach of duty of good faith and fair dealing and for deceit and fraud were not mere reiterations of the plaintiffs’ claim for negligent and fraudulent misrepresentation and should be allowed to stand. Their claim for breach of contract was based on...

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Employer ordered to pay $100,000 punitive damages.

On January 31, 2013, the British Columbia Court awarded an employee $100,000.00 in punitive damages as a result of the defendant employer’s conduct, which was found to be malicious and vindictive, in breach of its obligations of good faith and fair dealing in the manner in which the employee was terminated. The employer’s egregious conduct continued “unbroken” throughout the legal proceeding. The Court awarded punitive damages against the employer to punish, denounce, and deter future actions, which included: 1. The employer refused to pay the employee’s outstanding wages unless a release...

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When a policy lapses, a new agreement must be made.

On January 11, 2013, the  BC Court of Appeal decided in Khosah v. Canada Life Assurance Co. that where coverage under an original policy lapses in accordance with its own terms, the principles of contract formation, rather than contractual interpretation, may apply in determining whether a new policy has come into existence. The issue on appeal was whether the beneficiary’s deceased husband, the insured, obtained temporary insurance coverage from the insurer while the insurer processed the insured’s application for reinstatement of a term life insurance policy that had lapsed due...

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