ICBC, in this personal injury case, having been ordered to pay almost $400,000 in punitive damages for reprehensible conduct, wins a stay in the payment pending their appeal (Arsenovski v. Bodin,2016 BCCA 178).
This ICBC injury case involved a car accident which occurred at the intersection of Nelson Avenue and Imperial Street in Burnaby. The claimant pedestrian was crossing Nelson Avenue in the crosswalk when she was hit by a car. ICBC unfairly denied this claim and the court punished ICBC for doing so.
ICBC claims that the judge was wrong in the following ways:
(i) The trial judge erroneously concluded that the ICBC Special Investigations Unit (“SIU”) officer lacked reasonable and probable grounds to assert that the claimant made false statements;
(ii) The trial judge erroneously concluded that the ICBC SIU officer acted with malice;
(iii) The trial judge erred in unreasonably awarding punitive damages that were disproportionate and inconsistent with the case law.
Punitive damages are meant to punish ICBC, not compensate the claimant. There was no significant prejudice, according to the court, in waiting longer for punitive damages money as the claimant was not seeking to replace lost income, modify her home to conform to a disability, recoup money spent in response to the defendants’ wrongs or anything of the sort.
However, the more compelling reason to hold off paying the nearly $400,000 award was that the ICBC claimant unfortunately had no assets. She subsisted off of old age pensions. The court did not accept that ICBC would not suffer irreparable harm, “because it is a large corporation with significant assets. The harm is irreparable because the money will be lost, not that there would be an irreparable harm to the operation of ICBC as a result of a financial loss.”
Factors to consider when granting a stay of execution were outlined by the court as follows:
1. A successful claimant is entitled to the “fruits of his judgment”. He should not be deprived of them unless the interests of justice require that they be withheld from him until the defendant’s appeal is decided.
2. A stay will be allowed only where it is necessary to preserve the subject matter of the litigation to prevent irremedial damage or where there are other special circumstances.
3. The court must weigh the interests of the parties, the balance of convenience and any prejudice that may arise and grant the stay on terms it considers appropriate.
4. Determine whether the appeal is without merit or has no reasonable prospect of success.
Learn more about the ICBC $400,000 Punitive Damage Award case.
Posted by Personal Injury Lawyer Mr. Renn A. Holness, B.A. LL.B.