B.C. man convicted of distracted driving despite dead iPhone battery

RICHMOND, B.C. _ A B.C. driver has been found guilty of using a cellphone while behind the wheel, even though its battery was dead.

The decision, delivered Monday by judicial justice Brent Adair in Richmond, says Patrick Grzelak was using his iPhone with earbuds in his ears.

The ruling says Grzelak was alone in his Mercedes on Oct. 12, 2018, heading home after a long day, with the dead iPhone in the centre cubby hole of his dashboard, when he was pulled over in Surrey.

Adair found Grzelak was using the device because it was “in a position in which it may be used,” as defined under the Motor Vehicle Act.

Adair ruled it didn’t matter that the battery was dead or that Grzelak was not using the phone.

With the earbuds in, Adair ruled Grzelak was essentially holding the device.

“Since the earbuds were part of the electronic device and since the earbuds were in the defendants ears, it necessarily follows that the defendant was holding the device (or part of the device) in a position in which it could be used, i.e. his ears,” Adair wrote.

Adair pointed to a previous provincial court ruling that reached a similar conclusion in 2015.

In that decision, Adair says another judge ruled a dead battery does not override wording in the Motor Vehicle Act that makes it an offence to simply hold an electronic device in a position in which it may be used.

Conviction on a charge of using an electronic device while driving carries a $368 fine, plus four penalty points, as well as an Insurance Corporation of B.C. penalty fee of $210.

Owner of deliberately burned Manitoba store ordered to repay

WINNIPEG _ A judge has ruled a fire that destroyed a hardware store in the western Manitoba town of Neepawa more than four years ago was deliberately set.

The decision follows a lawsuit filed by the owner of the Home Hardware outlet against his insurance company for not providing coverage.

The owner, Patrick Guilbert of Guilbert Enterprises, has been ordered to repay Economical Insurance tens of thousands of dollars.

The judge’s ruling states that the insurer based in Waterloo, Ont., denied a claim for $3 million.

Manitoba’s Office of the Fire Commissioner said the February 2015 blaze started in the attic, but it could not determine the exact cause.

The ruling has no effect on a separate police investigation, now closed, in which the RCMP did not lay charges.

The fire destroyed four apartments above the store but no one was injured.

Court of Queen’s Bench Justice David Kroft wrote in his March 21 ruling that “Taking all the evidence into account … Economical has proved, on a balance of probabilities, Guilbert started the fire _ a clear breach of the plaintiff’s contractual and statutory obligations to Economical.”

Kroft accepted evidence given by engineer Norbert Karl Becker, who was called by Economical to testify about the cause and origin of the fire. The judge noted that Becker found that the timing, area of origin and rapid spread of the fire were consistent with an incendiary blaze.

Kroft said Guilbert conceded financial motive at trial because the business was failing.

He also ruled there was opportunity for Guilbert to start the fire, based on witness testimony from former employees.

“On the day of the fire, Guilbert removed personal items from the building. Guilbert was alone in the building from 6:05 p.m. to 6:09 p.m.,” he wrote.

Kroft allowed a counterclaim filed by Economical and ordered Guilbert to pay the insurance company nearly $650,000. The money covers the amount Economical paid under the policy to two credit unions for mortgages taken out by Guilbert Enterprises and the cleanup costs associated with the fire.

His decision notes a trial judge is not precluded from reaching a different conclusion than investigators about the cause of a fire.

Guilbert has not responded to a CTV News request for comment, while his lawyer said it would be inappropriate to comment on the ruling. (CTV Winnipeg)

Zurich Canada names new Head of Liability

Marco Royer has been named Head of Liability for Zurich Canada.

Royer will be a member of the Zurich Canada Executive Team and will report to Zurich Canada CEO Saad Mered. His first day at Zurich will be July 1.

Royer will be responsible for leading the market-facing underwriting teams in Zurich Canada’s liability portfolio, including casualty, energy casualty, construction liability, environmental liability and commercial automobile.

Royer will also oversee Zurich Canada’s Alternate Risk Transfer team and will be responsible for the development and growth of the healthcare and public sector industry verticals.

He will also work closely with other Zurich Canada executives to coordinate effective execution of portfolio management, distribution management, risk services and claims management.

Royer comes to Zurich with more than 30 years of experience in the European and Canadian insurance marketplaces. He has a strong technical casualty underwriting background and has held ascending levels of leadership responsibilities, including 18 years at Gen Re, where he led teams in ParisLondon and Montreal. Following Gen Re, he joined Aon Benfield as vice president and casualty specialist, then Quebec regional manager and head of Facultative Operations, reporting directly to the CEO.

In this most recent position, Royer was the head of the Canadian-London team, responsible for all Canadian reinsurance placement in the London market.

“We are very excited to have a leader of Marco’s caliber and deep experience and relationships in the Canadian market joining us,” Mered said. “With his addition to Zurich Canada, we continue to build a diverse, experienced and proven senior leadership team that will enable the transformation and repositioning of Zurich’s presence in Canada.”

Marco has certified as a Chartered Financial Analyst and is a member of London UK CFA Society. He also holds a Master of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from McGill University in Montreal. He is also a board member of La Fondation OLO in Montreal whose mission is to help low-income families bring healthy babies into the world and teach them healthy eating habits early on.

SOURCE Zurich North America

If your tank leaks, you may be on the hook for major environmental clean up costs

Read more

Top-secret Point Lepreau insurance settlement details leaking

Read more

$175,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment for Chronic Psychological Injuries

Reasons for judgement were published this week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for chronic psychological injuries sustained in a collision.

In the recent case (Anssari v. Alborzpour) the Plaintiff was injured in a 2014 collision.  She sustained various psychological injuries including severe depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress symptoms.  These continued to the time of trial and were likely to continue in the future.  In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $175,000 Madam Justice Fleming provided the following reasons:

[95]         In any event, the fact and opinion evidence overwhelmingly establishes that Mrs. Anssari developed severe depression, severe anxiety and symptoms of PTSD due to the accident. It is clear her psychological injuries have resulted in the ongoing and severe symptoms she, her children and most of the expert witnesses described in their evidence. I find therefore the accident caused the following:

–       very low mood and intense feelings of anxiety worsened or triggered by a number of circumstances such as driving, noise, and sirens;

–       nightmares for about one year after the accident;

–       very low energy and very poor motivation;

–       agitation, irritation and anger, as well as intense sadness and emotional numbness;

–       a profound sense of hopelessness and if not a wish to die, a questioning of her ongoing existence;

–       irrational anger toward Mr. Alborzpour for causing the accident that she wants to let go of but cannot;

–       overwhelming feelings of guilt over the impact of her condition on her family;

–       chronic insomnia that prevents her from falling asleep until near dawn and staying asleep for more than a series a short periods ending in the late morning;

–       significant physical pain in her neck shoulders and back, severe headaches and numbness along with other altered sensations in her right arm for approximately two years after the accident; and

–       some ongoing pain in her neck, shoulders and back, headaches and intermittent numbness in her right arm.

[96]         Mrs. Anssari’s severe psychological symptoms have persisted despite treatment including anti-depressant medications, psychological treatment in 2014 and 2017, medication and treatment for her physical symptoms, ongoing support from her family doctor, and some involvement with a treating psychiatrist since early 2018….

[108]     The evidence makes it clear that Mrs. Anssari’s psychological injuries have had a devastating impact on every aspect of her life. Before the accident she was a vibrant, happy, healthy person with a loving marriage and extremely close, positive relationships with both children. A full-time homemaker and a highly involved parent, Mrs. Anssari also enjoyed socializing with friends, going out and travelling with her husband and children, and being physically active. She dreamed of being a grandmother and caring for her grandchildren. Her future was bright.

[109]     Since the accident, her emotional suffering, intense anxiety, and severely disrupted sleep, along with an almost complete loss of motivation, next to no energy and a deep sense of hopelessness have essentially taken all of that away. For the first year she was also plagued by nightmares of the accident. She still experiences flashbacks. I have accepted her psychological injuries exacerbated her physical pain which, although much better, has not resolved.

[110]     For the most part Mrs. Anssari spends her days and nights on the living room couch, interacting very little with the world around her, including her family. Her inability to take part in or find any joy in Sahar’s wedding preparations and the wedding itself would have been unimaginable before the accident. The same is true of her response to Rosha. Rather than fulfilling her dream of being an involved grandmother and caring for her grandchildren, she engages very little with Rosha during their almost daily weekday visits which in turn causes her more suffering. Similarly, Mrs. Anssari remains unable to let go of the anger she has felt toward Mr. Alborzpour since the accident. In response, as Mrs. Anssari put it, he has lost patience with her. The evidence of Saeed and Sahar suggests the marriage is beyond repair, a terrible loss for Mrs. Anssari given its strength before the accident and how firmly rooted her identity has been in her role as a wife and mother.

[111]     The effect of Mrs. Anssari’s injuries on her day-to-day functioning is as profound as the impairment of her relationships. I have accepted that her psychological injuries prevent her from engaging in any meaningful housework or cooking. They also significantly interfere with her ability to drive safely, a blow to her independence. She even struggles to engage in basic self-care.

[112]     Unhappy with what has become of her, Mrs. Anssari is, as I have said, guilt ridden about the effect of her condition on her family. Fortunately she wants to get better and is willing to undergo further treatment, despite the ineffectiveness of medication and psychological interventions thus far. Although a complete recovery is not a realistic possibility, a new medication regime and, failing that, ECT may very well result in substantial improvement over time.

[113]      Similar cases are of some assistance in assessing an award for non-pecuniary damages. No other case however will ever involve the exact same circumstances and each plaintiff is unique: Hans v. Volvo Truck North America Inc., 2016 BCSC 1155, at para. 525. I have considered the cases relied upon by the parties. The most similar is Hans where $265,000 was awarded in non-pecuniary damages seven years after the accident. The plaintiff’s psychological injuries, significant PTSD and major depressive disorder, were however even more serious than Mrs. Anssari’s and there was little prospect his symptoms would improve. He suffered from suicidal ideation, had attempted suicide three times, and been hospitalized for extended periods. The trial judge accepted the plaintiff would remain at risk of death by suicide. Given his PTSD, the plaintiff was also found to be at increased risk of developing another psychiatric disorder.

[114]     In all of the circumstances and having considered the factors enumerated in Stapley, I conclude $175,000 is an appropriate award for Mrs. Anssari’s pain and suffering. The award includes compensation for the non-pecuniary loss associated with her intended role as a caregiver to her grandchildren and her future loss of housekeeping capacity, both of which are discussed below but also takes into account the chance that with the medication regime or failing that ECT, her psychological condition will improve substantially, balanced against the risk of further deterioration.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from ILSTV

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest