Kim Kardashian West sues online media outlet for libel

By Larry Neumeister

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

NEW YORK _ Kim Kardashian West sued an online media outlet for libel Tuesday, saying she was wrongly portrayed as a liar and thief after she was attacked in Paris.

The lawsuit in Manhattan federal court seeks unspecified damages from MediaTakeOut.com. It said Kardashian West, traumatized by the Oct. 3 armed robbery, was victimized a second time when the website reported hours afterward that she faked the robbery and lied about the assault.

The website’s owner, Fred Mwangaguhunga, didn’t answer his phone when comment was sought Tuesday. A message left with the website wasn’t immediately returned.

Police said armed robbers forced their way into a private residence where the reality TV star was staying, tied her up and stole $10 million worth of jewelry. She was in Paris for fashion week.

No arrests have been made.

The lawsuit said the website lacked any factual support when it published a series of articles referring to her as a liar and a thief and alleged that she faked the robbery, lied about the violent assault and filed a fraudulent claim with her insurance company to cheat her carrier out of millions of dollars.

The lawsuit said the “malicious publication of the articles, which paint the victim of a serious crime as a criminal herself, is libelous.”

The website also ignored her demand that it publish a retraction and apology for calling her a liar and a criminal, the lawsuit said.

According to the lawsuit, Kardashian was assaulted and robbed by two masked men who put a gun to her head, duct-taped her hands, legs and mouth, and left her lying helplessly on the bathroom floor while they left with the jewelry.

After the attack, her husband, Kanye West, abruptly ended his New York concert, announcing that he had a family emergency.

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How Much Insurance Money Will Kim Kardashian Receive for Her Stolen Jewels?

Billboard.com

A few hours after midnight on Monday morning, Kim Kardashian West was robbed at gunpoint in her Paris hotel of what is now estimated to be more than $10 million worth of jewelry — a story that has captivated the media, both in Europe and the U.S., in the days since.

As there is little chance the jewels will be recovered, Kardashian is now presumably about to enter into a complicated claims process with her insurance company — most likely Lloyd’s of London (which specializes in insurance for multimillion-dollar gems), according to Scott Andrew Selby, co-author of Flawless: Inside the Largest Diamond Heist in History.

But how much Kardashian West will receive for the loss (assuming, of course, that each piece was insured) depends on a number of factors, including the category and conditions of her coverage. “It all depends on the type of jewelry coverage the customer purchased,” Janece White, North American vice president of underwriting and jewelry specialist at Chubb Personal Risk Services, a multinational property and casualty insurer, tells Billboard. “Was it worldwide coverage? Was there a maximum amount of coverage provided while traveling? Were there any restrictions with regard to the security required while traveling with the jewelry? In some instances restrictions are placed on the policy, which require that when traveling the jewelry be kept in a secure hotel safe — not the room safe.”

The conditions of Elizabeth Taylor’s insurance on the famous, 69.42 carat Taylor-Burton diamond, for example, specified that Taylor should only wear it in public 30 days per year and when protected by security guards, according to Lloyd’s. If anything had happened to the diamond while violating those conditions, she would not have received the full value of her claim.

Assuming Kardashian West is indeed insured, and was following the dictates of her policy to a T, the claims process will still be complicated. “Very high value, unique and rare items can be tricky to replace with pieces of ‘like kind and quality,’ which is the standard for most insurance companies,” Heather Perkins, head of underwriting at Los Angeles-based jewelry insurance specialist Lavalier, tellsBillboard. “So a multi-million dollar claim like this one is going to be difficult, both to investigate and to resolve.”

It is common for those who own jewels as pricey at Kardashian West’s to wear imitation jewelry while traveling — something White strongly suggests for other owners of high-ticket items. And if an imitation set is not an option, storing the jewels in the hotel security safe when they aren’t being worn is a must. “I would also be wary of making my whereabouts known, as individuals who could wish me harm could use that information,” she adds. “And lastly, because even when all precautions are taken, sometimes bad things happen. I would want to make sure I had the best insurance coverage in place to protect my valuabl

Responding Expert Reports Must Be Tendered in Party’s Case in Chief

erik-magraken

Interesting procedural reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, addressing when a party must tender responding expert reports.

In today’s case (Cambie Surgeries Corporation v. British Columbia) the Plaintiffs sought to tender their responding expert reports after the Defendant tendered their expert reports. The Defendant objected noting the reports should properly be admitted as part of the Plaintiff’s case in chief.  In agreeing with the Defendant Mr. Justice Steeves provided the following reasons:

[9]             It seems to me that the Rules are intended to promote efficiency in a trial. Historically, expert opinion evidence was given simply by a notice, as described in Abell v. British Columbia (Greater Nanaimo Water District), 1979 CanLII 657 (BC SC), but now there are strict requirements. With respect to reply reports, they are intended to avoid parties putting in reply reports at trial for the first time. Here the plaintiffs’ position would not bring back that situation entirely; however, it would at least open up the risk of sur-reply expert reports, thus possibly lengthening these proceedings.

[10]         Overall I conclude that, while it is always open to a party to apply to apply to call rebuttal evidence, a responding expert under the Rules is quite a different part of a trial. In short, a responding expert report is not rebuttal evidence in the usual sense of being in response to unanticipated evidence. In my view, as with all anticipated evidence, the plaintiffs must call and exhaust their evidence. This is paraphrasing of the judgement in Commercial Electronics v. Savics, 2011 BCSC 162. The plaintiffs will examine their expert witnesses about their reports, including responding reports as part of their case.

Home owners insurance: Are you Covered?

Ottawa Business Journal 

Generally, most home owners have purchased home owners insurance. But, many often don’t read the fine print and rely on their insurance brokers to ensure that they have the proper coverage.

The Supreme Court of Canada defined the duty of insurance brokers in 1977 in Fine’s Flowers Ltd. v General Accident Assurance Co. of Canada. According to the Court, an insurance broker must exercise a reasonable degree of skill and care to obtain policies in the terms requested by the customer, service those policies as circumstances might require, and advise the customer if they are unable to obtain the policies requested so that the customer may take such further steps to protect himself/herself. Specifically, where the customer adequately describes their insurance needs to the broker, then the onus is on the broker to review the insurance needs of the customer and provide the full coverage requested. In that instance, should an uninsured loss occur, the broker will be liable unless he/she has pointed out the gaps in coverage to the customer and advised the customer on how to protect against those gaps.

But, this does not mean that the broker has an obligation to review each and every exclusion clause with the homeowner. It’s imperative that the home owner determine their own insurance needs and review the exclusion clauses within their home owners’ insurance policy to ensure that they take the steps necessary to prevent that exclusion. For example, many home owners’ insurance policies exclude any loss or damage caused by freezing during the usual heating season within a heated portion of the home if the home owner (and their family) has been away from their home for more than 4 consecutive days. The home owner can, however, negate this exclusion if, for example, they arranged for a competent person to enter their home each day that they were away to ensure that the heating was being maintained. Alternatively, the exclusion can be negated if the heating and plumbing systems are connected to a monitoring alarm station providing 24-hour service or if the water supply is shut off and all the pipes and domestic water containers are drained.

Additionally, home owners’ insurance policies sometimes exclude any loss or damage that occurs after the home has, to the insured’s knowledge, been vacant for more than 30 consecutive days. The definition of “vacant” will vary depending on the applicable policy.

These type of exclusions are not only important for those that relocate south during the winter months, but those that travel for a few weeks’ vacation, or perhaps even for a long weekend.

The specific exclusions and ways to negate the exclusions vary based on the insurance policy and the insurer, so it is very important to read your specific policy and see what applies to you and your home. Your insurance broker need only point out the gaps in your home insurance if you specifically advise of the broker of your insurance needs. Saying that you want “full coverage” will not necessary suffice.

Victoria Boddy is an Associate with the law firm of Howard Yegendorf & Associates.  Victoria can be reached at 613-237-5000 ext. 240 or vboddy@yegendorf.com. For more information about Victoria, please visit www.yegendorf.com.

Disclaimer and Cautionary Note

The foregoing provides only an overview and does not constitute legal advice or establish a lawyer-client relationship with the authors or BrazeauSeller.LLP. Readers are cautioned against making any decisions based on this material alone. Rather, specific legal advice should be obtained from a qualified lawyer.

“Outlandish” Uncorroborated Injury Claims Rejected

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

erik-magraken

Reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, largely rejecting many “outlandish” claims in a personal injury lawsuit that were not supported by medical evidence.

In today’s case (Lamb v. Fullerton) the Plaintiff was involved in several collisions and sued for damages.  He claimed aggravation of a historic head injury and further claimed severe consequences including ‘vomiting 100 times in a day‘ and severe bowel incontinence.  The reported symptoms and any relationship to the collisions in question were not corroborated by medical evidence.  The court was critical both of the lack of evidence in support of the claim and the Plaintiff’s credibility.  In rejecting these and other portions of the claim Madam Justice Warren provided the following reasons:

9]             Mr. Lamb’s testimony was unsatisfactory.  Regrettably, I have concluded that it is almost wholly unreliable in establishing that any injury or aggravation of injury was caused by these accidents, particularly in the complex circumstances of a serious, ongoing pre-existing condition and two intervening accidents that are not the subject of this action.

[10]         Mr. Lamb unreasonably persisted in making claims that were inconsistent with either independent evidence or other aspects of his own evidence, and he made little, if any, attempt to explain the inconsistencies.  Two particularly striking examples were his insistence that his behavioural and memory problems were aggravated by the accidents in question and his repeated assertion that he broke his clavicle in the December 8, 2010 accident…

[14]         Mr. Lamb also baldly advanced claims, some of which were out of the ordinary and even outlandish, without corroborating evidence in circumstances where one would expect corroborating evidence to exist.

[15]         Mr. Lamb claimed to have been vomiting 100 times in a day.  He claimed that the bowel incontinence was so severe that he was using countless incontinence pads and 20 gallons of isopropanol annually to clean his soiled clothing.  He offered his own opinion as to the cause of these conditions, which was blood accumulating in his stomach as a result of bleeding from his esophagus caused by wincing and cringing due to the pain.  Yet, he appears to have taken few, if any, steps to obtain medical attention for these conditions; he offered no medical evidence to support his own dubious opinion as to the cause of these conditions; and he produced not even a single receipt for isopropanol or incontinence pads…

[20]         Mr. Lamb acknowledged having been untruthful in other contexts.  He admitted that he told a surgeon who performed his cataract surgery in June 2012 that he had undergone chemotherapy for leukemia but he seemed to reluctantly acknowledge during the trial that he has never had leukemia…

[85]         As I have already explained, because Mr. Lamb’s subjective reports provide the foundation of his claims it is particularly important to examine his evidence carefully.  For the reasons already expressed, I have concluded that his evidence was neither credible nor reliable.  He has failed to marshal any persuasive independent corroborating evidence.  Most importantly, he has presented no medical evidence in respect of the cause of the injuries and conditions he claims to suffer from; whether his pre-existing conditions were aggravated by the accidents; if so, the extent of the aggravation; or the impact of the two intervening accidents on his current condition.  In the circumstances of this case, such evidence is necessary in order to establish possible causes of the injuries and conditions about which he complains:  Deo v. Wong, 2008 BCCA 110 at para. 19.

Muskoka residents launch $900 million suit against province over flood damage

By Keith Leslie

THE CANADIAN PRESS

TORONTO _ Residents, cottage and business owners on some of the biggest lakes in Muskoka are launching a $900-million class-action suit against the Ontario government because of flooding caused by high water levels.

People living on Lakes Muskoka, Lake Joseph and Lake Rosseau say they suffered extensive damage during this year’s spring thaw because of high water and drifting ice that wreaked havoc on docks, boat houses and their properties.

The Ministry of Natural Resources is responsible for controlling water levels in the lakes, and the residents blame poor management and negligence for allowing the levels to become dangerous.

The ministry issued a statement Thursday saying it was “sympathetic” to those who had property damage, but adding that severe weather conditions are out of its control and that the spring melt was earlier and faster than normal this year.

“Over 170 mm of precipitation fell over a very short period of time, combining with high winds and ice flows to cause severe spring flooding,” it said. “We have lowered water levels in ministry dams when appropriate. Lowering water levels may provide limited relief from flooding, (ministry) dams were not designed to be flood control structures and don’t have the capacity to store or hold back flood waters.”

Lawyer Troy Lehman said the extent of the damage is “enormous” but the actual cost of repairs is still unknown, and most residents have not been successful in making insurance claims.

“We picked that number because we don’t know the actual amount,” he said. “Conservative estimates would say property damage could be in the hundreds of millions of dollars, and that’s why that large number was picked, but we will gather that information as people come forward.”

Peter Burgess, the representative plaintiff in the proposed class-action suit, which has not been certified by the courts, said it’s frustrating to suffer widespread property damage and not be able to afford to fix it.

“It’s a terrible feeling to have something crushed by the elements,” he said.

The Burgess family waterfront property on Lake Rosseau was flooded twice in the past few years, and its two-storey boathouse collapsed this spring and could cost up to $700,000 to rebuild.

“Insurance companies don’t insure wharfs or docks due to flooding or ice damage, but they do insure due to wind damage, so I had to build the argument that it was due to all three elements,” said Burgess. “So I still have no money from (the insurance company). They’re throwing some scraps on the table.”

Cassandra Ford, who operates a marina and restaurant in Bala, said she is looking at up to $400,000 to rebuild a damaged boathouse.

“Nobody seems to care,” she said. “They don’t care.”

Ford wants the ministry to explain why there was no flooding for 60 years and then three major floods since 2010.

“Prior to the 2006 Muskoka Watershed Management Plan we had high water but we didn’t have constant flooding,” she said.

In addition to monetary damages, the suit also aims to secure a judge’s order that would force the ministry to address the issue and maintain safe water levels.

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