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Court Orders Several Injury Claims Tried Together Due to Fraud Allegations

Reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, ordering several lawsuits to be heard together due to allegations of fraud.

In today’s case (ICBC v. Singh) the court reviewed an application requesting that seven personal injury actions involving motor vehicle accident claims related to three separate collisions be tried together.

In addition to the injury claims ICBC sued the individuals alleging that they “knew each other and conspired to stage the accidents to make false personal injury claims.

ICBC applied to have all the lawsuits tried together. In granting the application Madam Justice Duncan provided the following reasons:

[34]        The authorities provide a non-exhaustive list of facts to consider when making a determination on consolidation or, as in this case, ordering that actions be heard together. The factors are derived from Merritt, as well as Shah v. Bakken, [1996] BCLR No. 2836, and Insurance Corp. of British Columbia v. Sam, [1998] BCJ No. 947:

1.       Will consolidation create a saving in pre-trial procedures?

2.      Will there be a real reduction in the number of trial days taken up by the actions heard together?

3.      What is the potential for a party to be seriously inconvenienced by being required to attend a trial in which they only have a marginal interest?

4.      Will there be a real saving in experts’ time and witness fees?

5.      Is there a common issue of fact or law that makes it desirable to dispose of both (all) actions at the same time?

6.      Will consolidation avoid a multiplicity of proceedings?

7.      What are the relative stages of the actions?

8.      Would consolidation delay the trial and prejudice one or some of the parties?

9.      Would there be a risk of inconsistent results?

[35]        In this case, an order that the actions be heard together should result in a saving in pre-trial procedures. There would be one discovery of ICBC representatives concerning the fraud allegations rather than separately scheduled days of discovery, one per defendant. There would likely be a real reduction in the number of days required for trial if the actions were heard together, rather than as seven tort actions and one fraud action, as a repetition of evidence could be avoided. Parties could be excused for the portions of the trial which do not relate to them, saving their time and expense in that regard.

[36]        Conversely, the actions could be heard in stages with the ICBC fraud action scheduled first as it might determine, in whole or in part, the viability of the individual tort actions. This, of course, would be dependent on the views of a judge at a case planning conference or a judicial management conference.

[37]        The common issues of fact or law as between these actions is manifest in the pleadings and in the documents placed before the court by ICBC. The question is whether these accidents were staged by the parties. The parties knew one another, or at least knew one person with connection to more than one of the collisions. Mr. Haghmohammadi has some involvement in Collision #1 as he gave Ms. Prakash the vehicle she was driving at the time. Mr. Inderjit Singh, who drove the vehicle which allegedly injured Ms. Prakash and Ms. Mehran in Collision #1, had business dealings with Mr. Haghmohammadi in the sale of rebuilt motor vehicles and was in fact involved in Collision #3 with him.

[38]        If individual trials were held, inconsistent results could ensue. It is no answer to say that Ms. Prakash’s trial would create res judicata in relation to issues of alleged fraud arising from Collision #1, as Ms. Mehran has a separate proceeding arising from the same accident and Mr. Inderjit Singh is also a litigant in relation to Collision #3. Determining what issues were adjudicated in the first trial would not be straightforward and might visit unfairness on others who were not parties at Ms. Prakash’s trial.

[39]        I acknowledge that Ms. Prakash’s action is set for hearing in February and an order that the matters be heard together will necessitate an adjournment of that trial; however, I am satisfied of a high degree of interconnectedness between the parties and that it is in the interests of justice that the matters be heard together, or as directed following the case planning process or by judicial management, if a judge is appointed to hear the matter.

Nearly half of Canadians lack a financial plan, putting their goals at risk

A new CIBC (TSX:CM) (NYSE: CM) poll finds that nearly half (46 per cent) of Canadians do not have a financial plan in place to reach their goals, despite many feeling concerned about their retirement years.

“While most of us have a fairly good sense of our financial goals, so many Canadians do not have a clear road map in place to achieve what they want today – and tomorrow,” says Sarah Widmeyer, Managing Director and Head of Wealth Strategies, CIBC. “Whether the goal is to eliminate debt, save more, or retire early, you can achieve success with a financial plan.”

Key poll findings include:

  • 54 per cent of Canadians surveyed have a financial plan, with
    • 64 per cent of them having a long-term plan that identifies their savings goals and the steps to achieve them;
    • And 36 per cent who describe it as only a budget they review regularly, a short-term plan or ‘other’.
  • 46 per cent of Canadians surveyed do not have a financial plan
    • with 42 per cent of them saying they ‘have a pretty good idea’ and don’t need to write it down.
  • When thinking about retirement, just over half (51 per cent) are most worried about increasing health care costs, 45 per cent are concerned about how to manage unexpected expenses, and 43 per cent worry that they won’t have enough money to live the life they want.

‘Life gets in the way’

According to previous CIBC polls, ‘paying down debt’ has been the top financial priority for Canadians for seven straight years, indicating few people are making headway on their goals.

“We all aim to have a sufficient nest egg for retirement and money to handle the unexpected, but everyday life has a tendency of getting in the way,” says Ms. Widmeyer. “By setting out a clear path to your goals, a financial plan can help you stay on track. It also gives you the confidence to manage surprises, so that setbacks don’t put your retirement dreams and other goals at risk.”

The poll finds that having a financial plan in place makes Canadians feel more confident in their ability to manage unexpected changes in their finances. Additionally, those who have a financial advisor (61 per cent) also feel better able to manage setbacks. The poll surveyed Canadians with household incomes above $100,000.

A financial plan and a budget are not the same: But both are important

The poll findings show that even among those who do have a financial plan, more than a third (36 per cent) appear to be confused about how it differs from a budget, pointing to a limited understanding of the full value and purpose of a financial plan.

“While budgeting and financial planning go hand-in-hand, a budget alone is insufficient in crafting the life you want in the future,” says Ms. Widmeyer. She adds that confusing a budget with a financial plan may leave Canadians ill-prepared.

Ms. Widmeyer describes a financial plan as a clear, written report detailing an individual’s personal goals, financial needs and priorities in areas such as income and expenses, taxes, mortgage planning, education needs, retirement, estate planning, and insurance. A financial plan also incorporates assumptions like inflation, the time to a goal and expected rates of return, which many may miss on their own, she adds.

“There are many things to consider depending on your life stage, income and lifestyle expectations,” says Ms. Widmeyer. “Is it better to pay down debt or save? Are you saving enough? Could you possibly retire earlier than you thought? These are some of the questions a financial plan can help you answer and where the real value of a plan lies.”

Tips to get started

For those who are unsure of where to start, Ms. Widmeyer offers these tips:

  1. Identify your short-term and long-term goals
  2. Take a detailed look at your budget
  3. Create a plan setting measurable and time-based goals
  4. Review your progress annually

“Now is the perfect time to speak to a financial advisor who can help you identify and prioritize your goals and set a plan to achieve them,” adds Widmeyer. “The keys to success are to have a plan in place, review your progress annually, and then make any changes as needed. This will keep you on track to achieve what’s important to you.”

A plan for ages

  • In your 20’s and 30’s – When you’re starting out, it’s important to manage debt effectively and keep an eye on savings. Taking advantage of the Home Buyer’s Plan can help you build a down payment for your first home, while saving through a TFSA could save your RRSP contribution room for years when you’re likely to earn a higher income. Read Paul and Andrea’s story.
  • In your 40’s and 50’s – For the sandwich generation, it’s all about balance. Competing priorities pull you in different directions, and can make it difficult to stay on track. Look for ways to maximize savings through Registered Education Savings Plans, and be sure to balance your portfolio to fit the right time horizon, risk tolerance and accurately forecast future cash flow. Read Xue and Mei-Lien’s story.
  • In your 60’s and beyond – For those at or nearing retirement, it’s important to understand your new income needs, lifestyle and plan for any unexpected health costs in order to set a clear course for the years ahead. Knowing the right time and amount to withdraw from Registered Retirement Income Funds to reduce tax liabilities and continue saving for later years, while discussing your estate can help protect your wealth and minimize taxes. Read Andrew and Jennifer’s story.

KEY POLL FINDINGS:

Percentage of Canadians surveyed with a financial plan detailing out financial decisions and activities for their household:

Yes,    

54%

No

46%

Top reasons Canadians surveyed without a financial plan feel they do not need one:

I have a pretty good idea of what I need to do and don’t need to write it down

42%

My situation is pretty simple and I don’t see the need for one

26%

Canadians’ surveyed top three most important goals for having a financial plan:

Saving for retirement

53%

Eliminating credit card or line of credit debt

38%

Paying off  their mortgage sooner

38%

Top retirement concerns among Canadians surveyed:

Increased health care costs

51%

Managing unexpected costs (e.g. health-related expenses, long-term care)

45%

Not having enough money to live the life I want

43%

Confidence of those with or without a financial plan in their ability to manage an unexpected life event or scenario:

Have a
financial
plan

Do not
have a financial
plan

Have a
financial
advisor

Do not
have a
financial
advisor

Someone in the household losing their job suddenly

70%

58%

69%

57%

A family illness or disability that left me or a family member unable to work for a few months

77%

72%

78%

68%

Medical expenses not covered by my insurance provider

77%

71%

78%

67%

A sudden, unexpected financial emergency (e.g. urgent home renovation, car repairs)

88%

80%

87%

80%

Divorce

51%

48%

52%

46%

Growing family

57%

59%

60%

55%

Financial Plan Poll Disclaimer:
From January 5 to 9, 2017, an online survey was conducted among 1,007 Canadian adults with a household income greater than $100,000 who are Angus Reid Forum panelists. For comparison purposes, a probability sample of this size has a margin of error of +/- 3%, 19 times out of 20.

About CIBC
CIBC is a leading Canadian-based global financial institution with 11 million personal banking and business clients. Through our three major business units – Retail and Business Banking, Wealth Management and Capital Markets – CIBC offers a full range of products and services through its comprehensive electronic banking network, branches and offices across Canada with offices in the United States and around the world. Ongoing news releases and more information about CIBC can be found at www.cibc.com/ca/media-centre/ or by following on Twitter @CIBC, Facebook (www.facebook.com/CIBC) and Instagram @CIBCNow.

SOURCE CIBC – Consumer Research and Advice

Canada: CRA scam continues, but with a new twist

In October, 2016, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) announced a significant decrease in the amount of losses attributed to the CRA scam, following a large number of arrests conducted by Indian Authorities at a number of “call centres” in India. In the months following those arrests, the RCMP has continued to see that the number of reports related to the CRA scam remain at a fraction of what was reported prior to these arrests. Though the reports have diminished, it is clear that this scam has not ended. Furthermore, it would appear that the fraudsters are in the process of diversifying their approach. These perpetrators are attempting to re-engage victims who have previously lost money to the CRA scam. These fraudsters now appear to be testing the waters with a promise, sent via email, to pay back most of the funds that were lost, so long as the victim agrees to make an administrative payment (approximately 5% of the funds that were originally lost). The following is an actual quote from an email sent to a victim:

“We are happy to help you with our services. As you have already paid a huge amount of money to various scammers.  Based on your background verification and as per your discussion with our senior management personnel Mr. David Carter, we are pleased to pay you CAD 97000 dollars. This is to inform you that the above amount will be given to you in four equal installments on the payment of nominal documentation fees which is 4.9% of CAD 97000$ which is equal to CAD 4753 dollar. This is a one time payment of the documentation charges which shall be collected at your door step by our representative. On receiving the said fees, we shall release your first installment cheque worth CAD 24250 dollars within 48 hours. If you have any queries you can reach us via email or you can call our management personnel whose details are as under. Mr David Carter“.

Members of the RCMP Greater Toronto Area Financial Crime Unit would like to remind the public to remain vigilant of this type of scam which has been perpetrated by imposters claiming to be from the CRA, the Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (Formerly known as Citizenship and Immigration Canada), as well as a number of police agencies across Canada. These fraudsters have impersonated government officials and/or the police by telephone or by email. Fraudsters are either phishing for your identification or asking that outstanding taxes, and/or fees to be paid through the following means: money service business (Western Union or MoneyGram), electronic funds transfer (direct deposits), pre-paid credit cards, iTunes gift cards, and other prepaid gift cards.

This scam has been a very profitable for these offshore fraudsters. Based on statistics from the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) over 2,000 victims have disbursed more than $6.2 million to fraudsters posing as government officials since January 2014. Over that same time period, the CAFC have received reports of roughly 40,000 calls made to Canadian residences demanding they send cash to resolve outstanding tax and/or Immigration related matters. Most disheartening of all, based on the CAFC analysis, the reported numbers may only represent about 5% of the actual losses.

Many victims never report these incidents to the police. If you or a family member has fallen victim to this fraud, please report to your local police service, as well as the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. You have two ways to make a report to the CAFC; either by phone at 1-888-495-8501 (9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time) or through their online reporting tool at http://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/reportincident-signalerincident/index-eng.htm

Please do your part in sharing this message with your friends and family and help us to create more awareness of this type of fraud.

$4.5 Million Cost of Care Assessment in Paraplegia Injury Case

Today’s guest post comes from B.C. injury claims lawyer Erik Magraken

Reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing future care damages in the case of paraplegia.

In today’s case (Warick v. Diwell) the Plaintiff was involved in an “extremely serious” collision in 2009 where an oncoming semi truck/trailer crossed into their lane.  The Plaintiff’s husband and two friends were killed as a result of the impact.  The Plaintiff suffered profound injuries and was left paraplegic.

The parties settled all aspects of their claim except the future care costs.  The Court provided the following summary of applicable legal principles in future care assessments prior to assessing the Plaintiff’s significant damages.

[201]     The essential principles that determine an award for the cost of future care are not really in issue in this case, with each party simply emphasizing different aspects of the same overall body of authority in their submissions.

[202]     With respect to the standard of proof to be met, “[a] plaintiff who seeks compensation for future pecuniary loss need not prove on a balance of probabilities … that she will require future care because of the wrong done to her. If the plaintiff establishes a real and substantial risk of future pecuniary loss, she is entitled to compensation…”:  Graham v. Rourke (1990), 74 D.L.R. (4th) 1 (Ont. C.A.).

[203]     Claims made for future care must be both medically justified and reasonable. An award “should reflect what the evidence establishes is reasonably necessary to preserve the plaintiff’s health”:  Milina v. Bartsch (1985), 49 B.C.L.R. (2d) 33 (S.C.) at paras. 199 and 201; aff’d (1987), 49 B.C.L.R (2d) 99 (C.A.).

[204]     This requirement of medical justification, as opposed to medical necessity “requires only some evidence that the expense claimed is directly related to the disability arising out of the accident, and is incurred with a view toward ameliorating its impact”:  Harrington v. Sangha, 2011 BCSC 1035, at para. 151.

[205]     The question has often been framed as being whether a reasonably-minded person of ample means would be ready to incur a particular expense:  Andrews v. Grand & Toy Alberta Ltd., [1978] 2 S.C.R. 229 at p. 245.

[206]     The evidence with respect to the specific care required does not need to be provided by a medical doctor:  Jacobsen v. Nike Canada Ltd. (1996), 19 B.C.L.R. (3d) 63, (S.C.) at para. 182. However, there must be some evidentiary link drawn between the physician’s assessment of pain, disability, and recommended treatment and the care recommended by a qualified health care professional:  Gregory v. Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, 2011 BCCA 144 at para. 39.

[207]     Damages for the cost of future care are assessed, not mathematically calculated:  Uhrovic v. Masjhuri, 2008 BCCA 462 at paras. 28-31. There is an inherent degree of uncertainty and discretion in making such awards. Because awards are made “once and for all” at the time of trial, judges must “peer into the future” and fix the damages “as best they can”. This includes allowing contingencies for the possibility that the future may differ from what the evidence at trial indicates:  Krangle (Guardian ad litem of) v. Brisco, 2002 SCC 9, at para. 21.

[208]     While no award should be made in relation to an expense that the plaintiff will not actually incur (Izony v. Weidlich, 2006 BCSC 1315 at para. 74), the focus of inquiry when a justified item or service was previously unused, is whether it is “likely to be incurred on a going forward basis”:  Gilbert v. Bottle, 2011 BCSC 1389 at para. 251.

[209]     A plaintiff is not entitled to an award for that portion of their costs of future care that will be publicly funded. However, the risk that access to public funds may be lost in future is a proper basis to provide a contingency in the award:  Boren v. Vancouver Resource Society for the Physically Disabled, 2003 BCCA 388 at para. 25[6].)

KAYAK reveals top trending destinations of the year for Canadian travellers

KAYAK reveals top trending destinations of the year for Canadian travellers

Havana, Reykjavik, Rio de Janeiro, in. Osaka, Istanbul and Kahului, out.  KAYAK, the world’s leading travel search engine, reveals the Top Ten Trending Destinations of the Year according to Canadian traveller search data.1

“Canadians are seeking experiences both rich in culture and history in some of the world’s most interesting cities,” said David Solomito, VP North America Marketing. “Havana has seen an amazing amount of renewed interest as has Reykjavik, but there are some exciting additions to the list – like Casablanca, Auckland and Manila – proving long distance isn’t necessarily a variable when booking a trip.”

This year’s worth of data uncovers where Canadians are heading to next:

  • Havana is this year’s hot spot. While Canadians have always had a love for the historic tourist destination known for its cigars and famous vintage cars, interest in the city skyrocketed with a whopping 230% increase in searches compared to last year. Get there fast before Americans are allowed to start vacationing there, which will likely drive up costs and crowds.
  • Strike while the Reykjavik iron is hot and while you can still score a cool deal. The European hotspot took the #2 spot on KAYAK’S Top Trending Destinations list for Canadians with a 116% increase in searches compared to 2015.
  • Canadian travel to some of last year’s top destinations is expected to drop. Osaka was the top trending destination last year, but saw a 41% decrease in searches this year. Florida may also see fewer Canadians; Fort Lauderdale and Panama City’s temperatures couldn’t keep the cities from cooling down for Canadians.
  • Nashville is “singing your song”, Canada. No surprise with attractions and events continuing to expand in this great American city, Nashville sees a 43% increase in searches among Canadian travellers.
  • Canadians will go the distance for a rich cultural experience. KAYAK data shows that long flights aren’t always a factor when planning a trip. Long-haul destinations Casablanca, Manila, Auckland and New Delhi all saw 30% + increases in searches.

 

IN

OUT

Havana – 230%

Osaka – 41%

Reykjavik – 116%

Istanbul – 31%

Rio de Janeiro – 77%

Kahului – 24%

Casablanca – 76%

Brussels – 23%

Auckland – 58%

Hong Kong – 21%

Manila – 44%

Santiago – 20%

Nashville – 43%

Shanghai – 19%

New Delhi – 39%

Panama City – 18%

Guatemala – 36%

Fort Lauderdale – 14%

Bogota – 34%

Buenos Aires – 12%

_______________________

1 Methodology: Search dates Sept. 1, 2015 – Dec. 1, 2016 on ca.kayak.com; travel dates Jan. 1, 2016 – Dec. 31, 2016. Trending destinations are those with the largest increase/decrease in year-over-year searches.

KAYAK, as part of its annual Travel Hacker Guide, also reveals that Calgary is one of the hotspots of the year for North Americans,2gaining 27% more searches and proving Cowtown is a must-visit destination. Known as a gateway to some of the dreamiest ski getaways and the home of the Calgary Stampede, KAYAK data shows it’s best to book 2-3 months in advance. Want the best rate on a hotel? Book it for February.3

Solomito also shared tips to help Canadians travel like a pro “We have some great, intuitive features and tools that will arm you with all the information you need to make the right decisions”:

  • Check out KAYAK’s 2017 Travel Hacker Guide which features insights on what’s trending, popular and wallet-friendly among North American travelers. Based on data from over a billion travel searches, the guide is packed with data-driven insights on where to go, when to go and when to book.
  • For North American travelers, KAYAK’s data found it’s best to book 2-3 months out for Central America, Europe and Asia, but 1-2 months out works for the South Pacific.
  • The explore tool – Enter the budget you have in mind to spend on flights, and KAYAK will tell you all the places you can go within that budget.
  • Flight Hacks – These pro tips will help find the right flight for you.

 

To start planning your next vacation, visit ca.kayak.com.

ABOUT KAYAK
KAYAK is the world’s leading travel search engine. The company’s websites and mobile apps allow people to easily search hundreds of travel sites at once for flights, hotels, rental cars and vacation packages. KAYAK processes 1.5 billion annual searches for travel information and operates more than 40 international sites in 20 languages. KAYAK is an independently managed subsidiary of The Priceline Group.

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