Newsletters

05
Oct

British Columbia’s Public Auto Insurer Found Vicariously Liable for Employee’s Inappropriate Use of Personal Information

Ari v Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, 2022 BCSC 1475.    Reading Time: 4 minutes (approx.)    By: Chloe Jardine (Articled Clerk)     The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (“ICBC”), which maintains a database of  personal information for every license holder and registered owner of a motor vehicle in the  province, was at the centre of a legal action when a former employee accessed this database and  sold information to a third party.     Between April 2011 and January 2012, thirteen individuals were the victims of shooting and  arson attacks on their homes and/or vehicles. The only connection these victims shared is that  their vehicles had each, at one point or another, been parked in the Justice Institute of British  Columbia parking lot.    Former ICBC claims adjuster, Candy Elaine Rheaume, was fired when investigation into the  attacks uncovered that she had accessed the personal information of at least 79 individuals  without any apparent business purpose. This information was sold to a third party, and ultimately  used to carry out the attacks.     This class action was commenced on behalf of all individuals who had their personal information  improperly accessed and those that reside with these individuals including, but not limited to,  those who were victims of attacks. The initial issue was whether the former claims adjuster  committed a breach of the Privacy Act, RSBC 1996, c 373. If so, the subsequent issue was  whether the ICBC was vicariously liable for their employee’s conduct.     The Supreme Court of British Columbia found that Candy Elaine Reaume had breached the  privacy of these individuals, as there was a reasonable expectation that the ICBC would protect  any personal information collected. Further, the ICBC was found vicariously liable for the  conduct as the court indicated that “…risk of such conduct was not only foreseeable, it was  actually foreseen” [para 74]. The Court highlighted the ICBC’s own privacy protocols, in which  the ICBC informs employees about the need to protect the privacy of personal information  collected and warns of the consequences resulting from accessing this personal information  without a business purpose.    Notably, the Court highlighted the involuntariness of providing information to the ICBC. All  drivers need to provide information to the ICBC to obtain a license and insure a vehicle in the  province. The Court found that, because providing this information to the ICBC is mandatory,  there is a reasonable expectation that the ICBC will protect this information.     The ICBC was found vicariously liable for the general damages and pecuniary damages caused by its employee’s breaches, but did not justify an award of punitive damages against the ICBC.     Link: https://www.canlii.org/en/bc/bcsc/doc/2022/2022bcsc1475/2022bcsc1475.html?autocompleteStr =ari%20v%20&autocompletePos=11
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05
Oct

Hearsay May Establish Automobile Insurance Coverage Depending on the Wording of the Contract

Aditi v Doe, 2022 ONSC 4049.    Reading Time: 5 minutes (approx.)    By: Weston McArthur (Articled Clerk)     In Aditi v Doe, 2022 ONSC 4049, the Insured was involved in a motor vehicle accident where  the person that hit them fled from the scene immediately following the collision. An eyewitness  to the accident told a responding police officer that the missing individual was driving a “black  pick-up truck” [para 11], but the driver was never found or identified.    The Insured possessed both a standard motor vehicle insurance policy ($200,000) and a OPCF  44R Family Protection Endorsement ($1,000,000). Both policies are meant to protect insureds in  accidents involving unidentified vehicles. Both the Insured and the Insurer agreed that the  Insured was covered by the standard motor vehicle policy, but access to the $1,000,000 limit in  the OPCF 44R Family Protection Endorsement was in issue.    In this summary judgement motion concerning the application of coverage, the Court had to  decide if the statement by the eyewitness to the police officer could satisfy the corroboration  requirement of the OPCF 44R Family Protection Endorsement.    At paragraph 2, Justice Myers wrote that, “[w]hen a victim in a motor vehicle accident claims  under her own insurance policy for coverage for loss caused by an unidentified vehicle, the  OPCF 44R Family Protection Endorsement requires that the involvement of an unidentified  vehicle be supported by corroborating physical evidence or independent witness evidence”  [emphasis added].    At first glance, the eyewitness’s statement was hearsay, which to refers to a statement made out  of court to prove the truth of its contents. Here, the eyewitness clearly made the statement out of  court because they made it to a police officer, who did not get the name and contact information  of the eyewitness. The statement was put forward to prove the truth of its contents because the  Insured was attempting to prove that she was hit by an unidentified vehicle, whereby satisfying  the corroboration requirement of the OPCF 44R Family Protection Endorsement.    Looking to the automobile accident insurance contract, Justice Myers found that the wording  stated that the corroboration merely needed to “indicate” and not “prove” the “involvement of an  unidentified vehicle”, while also including “independence and materiality requirements” [para  36]. Justice Myers explained that “the goal is to ensure that the insurer has a fair assurance,  external to the plaintiff herself, that an unidentified driver was involved” [para 36].    At the hearing, the police officer testified. Justice Myers held that the eyewitness’s statement to  the police was enough to indicate the involvement of an unidentified vehicle, whereby satisfying the corroboration requirement of the OPCF 44R Family Protection Endorsement, even though  the evidence may not be admissible at trial. Furthermore, the fact that the hearsay came from a  police officer was enough to satisfy Justice Myers that the evidence was independent of the  Insured. Lastly, there was no doubt that the evidence was material because it went right to the  heart of the question of coverage. Ultimately, the Court ruled in favour of the Insured.    Link: https://www.canlii.org/en/on/onsc/doc/2022/2022onsc4049/2022onsc4049.html?searchUrlHash= AAAAAQALImluc3VyYW5jZSIAAAAAAQ&resultIndex=13
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05
Oct

The “True Nature of a Claim” Will Impact Duty to Defend Determination

Butterfield v Intact Insurance Company, 2022 ONSC 4060.    Reading Time: 3 minutes (approx.)    By: Weston McArthur (Articled Clerk)     In Butterfield v Intact Insurance Company, 2022 ONCS 4060, the Insured suffered from severe  schizophrenia. When the Insured was at a firearm store, he suffered from a schizophrenic  episode, which caused the Insured to believe that his life was at risk and led to him stabbing the  storeowner.    While the Insured was charged with aggravated assault, he was ultimately found not criminally  responsible because of his mental illness.    The storeowner subsequently sued the Insured for negligence. The Insured had a Condominium  Owner’s Policy with Intact Insurance that included third-party liability insurance. This policy  also contained an exclusion that stated that Intact would not have to defend the Insured where the  Insured committed bodily injury by way of an intentional or criminal act.    In light of the exclusion, Intact claimed that it did not have to defend the Insured. The Insured  subsequently commenced an application for a declaration that Intact had a duty to defend him.     First, the Court had to determine the true nature of the claim being brought by the Plaintiff  storeowner in the main action; if the claim was truly grounded in negligence, Intact would have  to defend the Insured.    While the Statement of Claim alleged negligence, Justice Braid was not convinced that this was  the true nature of the claim. At paragraph 14, Justice Braid wrote that, “[t]o ascertain the true  nature and substance of the claim, and whether it falls within the ambit of coverage, the court  must look beyond any labels used by the plaintiff.”    At paragraph 17, Justice Braid held that “the alleged negligence claim is based on the same harm  as an intentional tort of assault (if it had been pleaded)”. The result was that the Court found that  the true nature of the claim being brought by the Plaintiff was the tort of assault.    Justice Braid ultimately dismissed the application. She held that Intact did not have to defend the  Insured because the Insured’s actions constituted an intentional criminal act that was excluded by  the Condominium Owner’s Policy.    Link: https://www.canlii.org/en/on/onsc/doc/2022/2022onsc4060/2022onsc4060.html?searchUrlHash= AAAAAQALImluc3VyYW5jZSIAAAAAAQ&resultIndex=6
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29
Aug

Ontario Court Spells Out What Ambiguity Means

Dominion of Canada General Insurance Company v Ridi, 2022 ONCA 564. Reading Time: 2 minutes (approx.) Written By: Weston McArthur (Articled Clerk) Filippo Ridi was seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident and became eligible for Ontario Statutory Accident Benefits [hereinafter, “SAB”]. These benefits were paid for by Travelers. At paragraph 3, the Court wrote...
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29
Aug

New Brunswick Court Expands Granting Summary Judgement in the Context of Rear-End Collisions

Irwin v Swift et al, 2022 NBCA 35 Reading Time: 3 minutes (approx.) By: Chloe Jardine (Articled Clerk) This decision arises from a 2018 motor vehicle accident, in which a vehicle driven by Corey Irwin (“the Appellant”) was struck from behind by a vehicle driven by Shelley Swift and registered to her husband, Ronald Swift....
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29
Aug

British Colombia Court Rules Cap for Experts in Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Is Unconstitutional

Le v British Columbia (Attorney General), 2022 BCSC 1146 Reading Time: 4 minutes (approx.) By: Chloe Jardine (Articled Clerk) In May 2021, British Columbia adopted a reformed approach to automobile insurance. Among these changes was a limit of 6% – of total damages awarded at trial or agreed to in settlement – that a successful...
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04
Aug

Trial Decision Confirms a Plaintiff’s Section B File is Relevant for the Purpose of Disclosure in a Motor Vehicle Accident

MacGlashing v. Fernley and City of Moncton, 2022 NBQB 129 Read Time: 4 minutes By: Chloe Jardine (Articling Student) On March 30, 2016, Natalie MacGlashing (“the Plaintiff”) and Sarah Fernley (“the Defendant Fernley”) were involved in a motor vehicle accident in Moncton, New Brunswick. The Plaintiff claims that the Defendant Fernley failed to stop at...
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04
Aug

Insureds Can Rarely Claim New Legislation Can Retroactively Apply

Lin v Weng, 2022 ONCA 367. Reading Time: 3 minutes (approx.) By: Weston McArthur (Articling Student) At paragraph 1, Justice Feldman summarized the facts of this case: “The appellant’s tenants burned down his property on the last day of their tenancy. They caused a fire and explosion in the basement by using a butane lighter,...
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04
Aug

Ontario Court Reinforces Broad Reach of Duty to Defend

GFL Infrastructure Group Inc v Temple Insurance Company, 2022 ONCA 390. Reading Time: 5 minutes (approx.) By: Weston McArthur (Articling Student) The Toronto Standard Condominium Corporation No. 2299 (hereinafter, “TSCC 2299”) is the owner of a large residential condominium tower in the Distillery District of downtown Toronto. Distillery S.E. Development Corp., Cityscape Development Corporation, and...
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