ICBC Appeals Large Punitive Damage Award.

As covered in a previous article, the Supreme Court of British Columbia awarded a $350,000 punitive damage award against ICBC. The courts used various adjectives to describe the conduct of ICBC and its employees, including:  highhanded, reprehensible, and malicious. The courts found that the behaviour of ICBC was heavy-handed, and they had attempted to intimidate members of the public, whom they were supposed to serve.

Unfortunately for the plaintiff in this lawsuit, ICBC has appealed the award against them. Additionally, ICBC has also been successful in an application to withhold funds actually being paid to the plaintiff until the outcome of ICBC’s appeal:

This procedure, which is known as a stay in execution, was granted in this case, as the appeal court held that ICBC’s argument had “merit” and was not “bound to fail” (this is not the same as likely to succeed) and there was a risk that ICBC would be unable to recover if the plaintiff, who had limited sources of income, spent the award.

It should be noted that this is only a partial stay in execution. The plaintiff, for now, will be able to keep her awards for emotional distress ($30,000), legal fees ($7,225.34), and previous costs awards. If ICBC is unsuccessful in their appeal, the plaintiff will receive all of her award plus likely an additional award for costs for successfully defending an appeal.

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