Canada Line civil suit overturned: Susan Heyes damages set aside
Yesterday, Susan Heyes, long time B.C. resident, single mom, taxpayer and small business owner of Vancouver’s Hazel & Co Maternity fashions was dealt a legal and financial blow felt by many British Columbian taxpayers and small business owners.
In 2009 the B.C. Supreme Court Justice Ian Pitfield’s May 2009 decision awarded Susan Heyes $600,000 in damages, costs and interest as compensation over the controversial Canada Line construction that disrupted sales when her maternity-wear store was at 16th and Cambie.
A challenge to Justice Ian Pitfield’s award in the Susan Heyes vs South Coast B.C. Transportation Authority was soon made by all parties named in the civil suit and yesterday the original 2009 decision to award Susan Heyes $600,000 was overturned by a panel of three B.C. Court of appeal Judges.
One phrase uttered by B.C. Justice Mary Saunders who warned that “The law of nuisance is not well defined for this circumstance”.
It seems Justice Mary Saunders, along with Judge Jo-Anne E Prowse and Judge Katherine E. Neilson agreed with each other that the law of nuisance is not defined as such, though a quick google search under "Nuisance" shall provide a plethora of definitions. Maybe their internet was down?
It appears when reading the legal transcripts of this case that the legal decision in overturning the 2009 decision to award Susan Heyes award seems based on the Judges bible titled the “Big Book of Legal Excuses” (Judge’s Book of Authorities).
The Big Book of Legal Excuses gave Justices Saunders, Prowse and Neilson artistic license of interpretation as a way out and overturning Susan's award, with the gist relying on two cases involving a 1950’s Quebec cement plant civil complaint and a Municipality of Shellbrooke drunk driving accident precedence . These two cases seem to be the basis of their decision in overturning Justice Ian Pitfield’s May 2009 decision to award damages to Susan Heyes.
One wonders if BC Justices, Saunders,Prowse and Neilson checked Pitfield’s reference material. Perhaps Pitfield may also have referenced from the Big Book of Legal Excuses in awarding Susan Heyes her $600,000? If so, does one reference trump another? If yes, then perhaps the Big Book of Legal Excuses should be expunged from the legal library and let common sense dictate, allowing judges to think for themselves instead of referencing 50 year old legal precedence? But then perhaps Justice Ian Pitfield, now retired, may have just used common sense in his decision to award Susan Heyes damages. Clearly in this new appeal “Common Sense” does not appear to be included in the Big Book of Legal Excuses?
Let us hope if the 2nd appeal goes to the Supreme Court of Canada, that common sense will prevail and the Supreme Court Judges will open up the Big Book of Legal Excuses and check the two legal precedence that Madam Justice Mary E. Saunders, Madam Justice Jo-Ann E. Prowse and Madam Justice Kathryn E. Neilson appeared to base their final decision on. If and when this new appeal makes it to the Supreme Court of Canada, will these Supreme Court of Canada judges state “B.C. Judges Mary, Jo and Katy based their legal decision on a friggin Quebec cement plant and a drunk driver from the Prairies”? “Are you effing kiddin me”?
The Liberal party, especially former transportation Minister and Canada Line wonk Liberal leadership contender Kevin Falcon, and the NDP party and their seemingly self serving politicians vying for the top spot as Premier of British Columbia, may rue the day come election time if this is just yet another example of "Qu'ils mangent de la brioche " when it comes to us, the B.C. peasantry.
This just leaves us, the lone B.C. Joe or Jane punch clock, voter, single parent, senior citizen, taxpayer and business person who B.C. politicians always drivel incessantly on at election time that we are the driving force in the provincial economy in British Columbia.