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Recent & Notable Judgments
A selection of trial results obtained by members of Collette Parsons Harris*.

One of the first things a potential client should ask when hiring a lawyer is when the lawyer last went to trial – and how they did. Although the majority of personal injury cases settle without going to trial, we publish a selection of the cases we have taken to trial on our website so that our clients, and our potential clients, can see that we are taking cases to trial regularly when insurance companies refuse to treat our clients fairly.

Below please see a list of cases* members of our firm have argued in court.  You can click on any of the recent cases listed below for a summary, and the Details tab within the summary will take you to the published decision on the BC Supreme Court website for each case.

*Disclaimer: The outcome of every legal proceeding will vary according to the facts and unique circumstances in each individual case. References to successful case results where the lawyers at Collette Parsons Harris have acted for clients are not necessarily a guarantee or indicative of future results.

Lauriente v. Schoonhoven, 2017 $765,660 Judge Award

Richard and Kelley acted for the Plaintiff who was a nurse. The plaintiff was rear-ended by a cement truck and suffered soft tissue injuries that affected her ability to function in her job as an emergency room nurse. The trial Judge accepted that the plaintiff’s injuries affected her ability to earn income and awarded her $450,000 for her diminished ability to earn income as a result of the accident. The Judge also awarded $160,000 for her future care costs and $100,000 for her pain and suffering.

Jamal v. Kemery-Higgins, 2017 $667,000 Judge Award

Richard acted for the plaintiff, a massage therapist who suffered chronic pain and headaches following 2011 motor vehicle accident. The plaintiff was limited in her ability to work due to her injuries. The trial judge accepted that the use of female labour market contingencies is discriminatory and male labour market statistics were applied (see paragraph 96).

The court awarded $667,660 to compensate the plaintiff for her losses.

Downey v. O’Connor, 2017 $703,000 Judge Award

Kelley acted for the plaintiff, who was an 18 year-old university student at the time of her accident in 2012. Her case was complicated by an accident two months prior to the accident in question in the case. ICBC argued that her damages should be reduced to account for the 2011 accident, but the judge found that her 2011 injuries had, for the most part, resolved and her ongoing complaints were due to the 2012 accident. Ms. Downey had been an excellent student in high school and was hoping to become a teacher or a counsellor. After the 2012 accident, Ms. Downey left university because of her symptoms and instead enrolled in a 6 month laboratory technician program. She completed this and worked as a lab tech for three years, but she was calling in sick and missing work because of her injuries. She had to stop working entirely before the trial because of her neck and shoulder pain, numbness and tingling in her left arm and hand, and headaches. Ms. Downey’s relationship also ended because of her injuries and their effect on her mood.

The court awarded $703,321 to compensate the plaintiff for her losses

Day v. Doerksen, 2016 – $1.6 million Jury Verdict

Guy and Kelley acted for the Plaintiff in this four week jury trial in June 2016. The Plaintiff was driving his minivan on Highway #1 in Burnaby when he was rear-ended by a Ford F-350 pickup truck. The force of the impact caused the rear window of the minivan to explode and pushed the minivan into the vehicle ahead. The Defendant refused to accept blame for the collision until midway through the trial. The Plaintiff suffered a severe whiplash injury to his neck in the collision and herniated a disc in his lower back three months after the accident when he sneezed. The Plaintiff had back pain from time to time prior to the collision but it was not disabling. The defendants denied the whiplash injury was as bad the Plaintiff and his doctors said it was and they denied that the disc herniation was caused by the collision. The disc herniation was treated by surgery in which there were complications and a second corrective surgery had to be performed. The Plaintiff subsequently developed a neurogenic bladder condition which causes difficulty with urination. The injury to the Plaintiff’s neck caused a severe headache condition called occipital neuralgia. The Plaintiff was a professional photographer with his own business. He tried to carry on with his business for several months after the collision but after his back surgery he was unable to soldier on. The Plaintiff tried everything to get better including numerous injections, electrical cauterization of nerves in his neck, strong painkillers and ultimately had an electrical stimulator surgically implanted in his neck to treat the occipital neuralgia. The collision completely changed the Plaintiff’s life. He was living in excruciating chronic pain, could no longer earn a living or contribute to the household as he once did. His relationship with his wife and two young children suffered. He could no longer drive due to the medications he had to take. The jury awarded the Plaintiff $1,559,276.93 and the trial judge subsequently awarded an additional $69,600 to offset taxes and to hire a financial advisor resulting in a total award of $1,628,876.93. The defendants argued that the Plaintiff ought not to have been awarded anything to offset taxes or to hire a financial adviser. The Defendants also argued that $139,640.12 should be deducted from the judgment for future benefits which the Defendants claimed would be paid by ICBC in the future. The trial judge rejected the Defendants’ arguments.

Lu v. Huang – 2016 $382,000 Judge Award

Richard and Kelley acted for the plaintiff who suffered chronic pain after being rear-ended in a motor vehicle accident. The plaintiff was an accountant who was a high achiever. She continued to work despite her injuries; however, the trial judge recognized that she would have been able to advance further in her career had she not been injured in the accident.

The trial awarded the plaintiff $382,699 in damages including $250,000 in future loss of earning capacity despite the fact that plaintiff continued to work full time following the accident.

Redmond v. Krider – 2015 $548,000 Judge Award

Richard acted for the Plaintiff who suffered from chronic pain following a motor vehicle accident. ICBC alleged that the Plaintiff’s ongoing pain and limitations were related to prior motor vehicle accidents or alternatively to the Plaintiff’s type one diabetes and not due to the accident in question in the case. ICBC also alleged that the Plaintiff was responsible for the accident.

After hearing the evidence in the case the trial judge found that the plaintiff’s injuries were caused by the accident and that the accident was not her fault and awarded her $548,000.

Tourand v. Charette, 2015 $439,000 Judge Award

Guy acted for the Plaintiff who was left with chronic pain in her neck and back following a motor vehicle collision that occurred in 2009.

The Plaintiff was age 48 at the time of trial and was not working at the time of the collision but was looking to re-enter the workforce. She held two jobs after the collision but was unsuccessful at maintaining competitive employment.

The Defence position at trial was summarized by the Trial Judge as follows:

[4]           The defendant asserts that the pain the plaintiff has experienced since the Accident is primarily due to stressors in the plaintiff’s life and her failure to follow the recommendations of medical experts. The defendant submits that the plaintiff’s losses as a result of the Accident are very modest. She denies that the plaintiff suffered any past loss of income earning opportunity or capacity because it is unlikely that but for the Accident the plaintiff would have engaged in any employment. The defendant also submits that the plaintiff has a significant residual earning capacity as compared to her pre-Accident earning capacity and that her earning capacity has not been materially affected by the Accident. The defendant denies that the plaintiff requires or is entitled to the cost of housekeeping services.

This position was not accepted and the Trial Judge did find that Ms. Tourand had ongoing impairments caused by the collision and was entitled to an award of $438,893.

Sebaa v. Ricci – 2015 $541,000 Judge Award

The plaintiff suffered chronic pain, depression and PTSD following a head on motor vehicle collision. ICBC alleged at trial the plaintiff’s injuries were not as severe as she claimed and that here wage loss should be diminished because she intended to have children and had chosen not to work for some time prior to the accident for 1.5 years.

The trial Judge awarded the plaintiff $541,585 in damages, including $180,000 for pain and suffering which is one of the largest pain and suffering awards in BC for this type of injury.

LUIS V. MARCHIORI – 2015 $1.18 million Judge award

Guy acted for the Plaintiff. The Plaintiff was an office worker who was 50 years old at the time of trial. She was injured in two motor vehicle accidents and awarded $1,187,000 by a Judge following an eight day trial. The Plaintiff sustained chronic neck and back pain and headaches as a result of the accidents. She also suffered depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, and a somatic symptom disorder as a result of the accidents. ICBC’s lawyers argued the Plaintiff was not credible and raised four issues that they said went to the Plaintiff’s credibility. The trial Judge discussed the points raised by ICBC’s counsel and discounted them all (see paragraphs 9-30 of the judgment at the “Details” tab). Ultimately the trial Judge accepted that the Plaintiff was disabled from work as a result of the injuries she sustained in the accidents and awarded her $616,000 for past and future lost work capacity. The trial Judge awarded the Plaintiff $400,000 for future care so that the Plaintiff can manage her condition and get assistance as needed in the future. The trial Judge also awarded the Plaintiff $120,000 to help her cope with her pain and suffering. The breakdown of damages between all heads of damage can be found at paragraph 239 of the judgment which can be viewed by clicking the “Details” tab.

L.S. V. ICBC ET AL. – 2014 $2.8 million jury verdict

Richard acted for the Plaintiff in a four week jury trial, during January of 2014. The jury awarded the Plaintiff $2,728,473. However, this amount was reduced by $369,000, as the jury verdict of $720,000 for pain and suffering exceeded the inflation adjusted limit on pain and suffering damages, which was $351,000 at the time of trial. After calculation of additional damages for tax-gross up and management fees, the final jury verdict was just over $2,800,000.

The Plaintiff had suffered a traumatic brain injury, and orthopedic injuries, as a result of a motor vehicle accident. The Plaintiff was aged 18 at the time of the accident and had been struck by a vehicle, as a pedestrian. The damage to the Plaintiff’s brain was to his frontal lobes, the region of the brain that regulates “executive function”. Due to his frontal lobe brain injury the Plaintiff had a change to his personality. He was no longer the thoughtful and caring person he had been before the accident. Rather, he became angry and reclusive. The Plaintiff was of exceptional intelligence, which was fortunately unaffected by the accident. He actually achieved better grades in University following the accident than he had achieved before. However, the evidence and arguments in the Plaintiff’s case was that the changes to his personality would significantly affect his ability to earn income throughout his lifetime, and that he would require ongoing care and assistance.

The lawyers and experts hired by ICBC argued that the Plaintiff’s injuries would not affect his vocational pursuits in any significant way over the course of his life or cause him to require care.

The Plaintiff’s case was preferred by the jury as evidenced by the result.

FORDER V. LINDE – 2014 $835,000 Judge award

Richard acted for the Plaintiff, who was 50 years old at the time of trial. The Plaintiff had been rear-ended while driving on Lougheed Highway. As a result of the collision, the Plaintiff suffered a concussion which managed to resolve over time. However, she was also left with chronic pain and headaches that prevented her from returning to her job as a special education assistant, and caused her to require ongoing care and rehabilitation treatment.

Following a three week trial, the trial Judge awarded the Plaintiff damages of $835,600.76, plus the cost of the trial, and damages for tax-gross up and management fees. At paragraph 710 of his reasons the trial Judge stated as follows, concerning the written argument prepared by Collette Parsons Harris, which was provided to him at the end of the case in conjunction with oral submissions:

[710] Plaintiff’s counsel provided me an excellent detailed 83 page brief which I found most helpful. My summary of the submissions in no way diminishes a very strong argument for Ms. Forder’s claims.

GILBERT V. BOTTLE – 2014 $886,269 judge award

Guy acted for a First Nations woman who suffered a traumatic brain injury, soft tissue injuries, and a fractured clavicle as a result of a motor vehicle accident that occurred in Williams Lake, British Columbia. The Plaintiff was a rear seat passenger, the driver was impaired by alcohol and lost control of the vehicle in a corner. The Plaintiff was not wearing a seatbelt and she was ejected from the vehicle during the accident. ICBC argued that the Plaintiff’s damages should be reduced on a percentage basis for contributory negligence given that the Plaintiff had accepted a ride with an impaired driver and failed to wear a seatbelt. The trial Judge found that no deduction should be taken from the Plaintiff’s damages for contributory negligence. The Plaintiff was awarded $886,269.44 plus double costs of the action. The award included $400,000 for loss of future earning capacity. The Plaintiff had been “exposed over the years to poverty, substance abuse and other tragic circumstances often associated with reserve life in Canada”. The defence argued that despite her injuries ” viewed from a functional perspective her condition before and after the accident is essentially unchanged” and therefore she had no loss of earning capacity. The trial judge unequivocally rejected the defence position that the Plaintiff had little or no value as a person capable of earning income in a competitive labour market.

SHAPIRO V. DAILEY – 2010 $1.4 million judge award

Richard acted for the plaintiff who was turning left at the corner of Dundas Street and Nanaimo Street in Vancouver when she was hit by a car driven by a drunk driver. The plaintiff suffered soft tissue injuries in the accident and went on to develop complex chronic pain. Complex chronic pain is a devastating condition that arises when a person’s nervous system becomes sensitized following trauma. After hearing two weeks of expert and lay evidence regarding the causes of complex chronic pain, and its devastating effects, the Court awarded the plaintiff over $1.4 million to compensate her for her injuries. ICBC appealed the judgment. The judgment was upheld in a unanimous decision of the British Columbia Court of Appeal.

HARRINGTON V. SANGHA – 2011 $1.08 Million judge award

Guy and Richard acted for the Plaintiff who was injured when she hit a jack knifed semi trailer as she was driving towards Quesnel, British Columbia. ICBC argued that the Plaintiff was partially to blame for the accident for failing to avoid the jack knifed trailer when she encountered it coming towards her in her own lane. ICBC also contested the nature and extent of the Plaintiff’s brain injury and brachial plexus injury. After a four week trial ICBC’s argument that the Plaintiff was partly to blame for the accident failed and the 45 year old Plaintiff, who had been a casino worker before the accident, was awarded $1,080,465.00 plus tax gross-up and management fees. After tax gross-up and mamangement fees and deductions pursuant to section 83 of the Insurance (Vehicle) Act the final entered order from trial awarded damages to the Plaintiff in the amount of $1,201,793 plus court costs and the necessary expenses incurred to prove the case. The Judgment is also notable because the trial Judge refused to deduct fair pharmacare benefits from the Plaintiff’s award for future medication costs as was submitted by ICBC.

Gibbens v. Co-Operators Life Insurance Company

Guy acted for the plaintiff who was rendered a paraplegic after he contracted the herpes virus and the virus caused inflammation around his spinal cord. The plaintiff’s disability insurer refused to provide the plaintiff with the benefits owed to him under an insurance contract. The insurer claimed that his injury was not the result of an accident as defined in his insurance policy. The BC Supreme Court and the BC Court of Appeal accepted the position of the plaintiff and awarded the benefits. Guy fought the case to the Supreme Court of Canada for the plaintiff.

ABERDEEN V. TOWNSHIP OF LANGLEY, ZANATTA, CASSELS – 2007 $5.6 million judge award

Richard acted for the plaintiff who suffered a spinal cord injury and a brain injury in an accident after he was forced off the road on his bicycle. The plaintiff was riding down a hill in Langley when a vehicle approaching in the opposite direction took a corner wide and came over a solid double line. The plaintiff moved to the right to avoid the vehicle and encountered a guard rail with a gap in it. The gap had been created by Langley years earlier during road construction. The plaintiff went through the gap and over a cliff. The defendants took the position that the plaintiff was responsible for the accident because he was travelling faster than the posted advisory speed of 30 kilometres per hour. The court found the driver of the vehicle was 25% at fault, Langley was 75% at fault, and the plaintiff was not to blame at all. The Court awarded the plaintiff $5.6 million in damages.

The case was appealed. The BC Court of Appeal upheld the damage award.

MOSES V. KIM – 2007 $623,000 judge award

Guy acted for the plaintiff who was hit as a pedestrian while he was crossing the Trans Canada highway near Lytton, British Columbia. The Court found that both the plaintiff and the defendant failed to keep an adequate lookout and apportioned liability between them 65% to the plaintiff and 35% to the defendant. The plaintiff experienced serious injuries including compound fractures below both knees that required numerous surgeries. The Court awarded the plaintiff $623,000. ICBC appealed the case on behalf of the defendant driver who hit the plaintiff. The BC Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal.

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