$2 million settlement for Peterborough resident injured in motor vehicle accident

Injured while traveling on a frequented Peterborough road, a Kawartha-area male resident in his 40’s sustained multiple injuries that included a traumatic brain injury and a below the knee amputation.

Jason Singer’s hard fought negotiations before trial led to a settlement of approximately $2 million for the victim.  Although the victim has a lifetime of brain injury and amputation related hurdles to contend with, this settlement affords the victim and his family the opportunity to live comfortably with the resources needed both now and in the future.

 

St. Catharines Jury Awards $175,000 in Punitive Damages against Insurers

On April 19, 2016, a jury in St. Catharines, Ontario found against two insurers, Lloyds Underwriters and Sovereign General Insurance Company, in a claim where a Port Colborne man had lost his home and contents in a fire.  In addition to finding the insurers liable for paying damages under the insurance policy, the jury ordered the insurers to pay $175,000.00 in punitive damages to Abdul Hamid Haji-Fazul for their bad faith conduct towards him in denying his claim.

On April 10, 2011 Mr. Haji-Fazul was the victim of a total fire loss that destroyed his home and all of his contents.  The insurers learned after the fire, that he had been a victim of a prior fire loss on the property.  Additionally they learned that he had demolished an old shed on the property by burning it down, and had a farmer leasing out a portion of the land.  As a result the insurers denied the claim based on material misrepresentations.  At trial, Jason Singer was able to show that the insurance companies would have insured even if they were aware of the additional information.

The jury found that the insurers conduct was high-handed, malicious and highly reprehensible.  They found that Mr. Haji-Fazul was relying on them to give appropriate coverage and peace of mind.  They awarded him $175,000.00 in punitive damages as a means to punish the insurers for their conduct in addition to the loss of his home, contents and living expenses.

 

Doctor found liable for surgical negligence (Penticostes v. La Fontaine Medical Group 2013 ONSC 5932)

After a 5-day trial in a judge alone case, the Court found in favour of a young woman who was left scarred after cosmetic surgery. This medical malpractice case addressed two issues: 1) the standard of care expected of a surgeon practicing cosmetic surgery in Ontario and 2) whether the Surgeon failed to adequately advise the plaintiff of material risks and thereby performed the surgery without informed consent.

The case mainly dealt with an abdominoplasty that resulted in a significant scar across the plaintiff’s abdomen. In a normal abdominoplasty, the incision takes place at a much lower level. The usual intent of the surgery is to have the scar below the bikini line, so that it can be hidden by underwear or a bathing suit.

The incision in this case was directly around the belly button. As a result, there was a very prominent scar that did not improve the plaintiff’s appearance.  A second surgery had to take place to improve the appearance, but significant scarring remained.

The Court found that the Plaintiff would not have consented to the procedure if she was properly informed of the location, size, and visibility of the scar. The court also found that performing the surgeon in this location was below the standard of care of a cosmetic surgeon practicing in Ontario.

The Court ruled in favour of the Plaintiff.  She was awarded $52,000 in damages plus interest and her legal fees.

 

Insurance Company held liable for $100,000 in punitive damages

(Brandiferri v. Wawanesa and Strone 2011 ONSC 3464 and 2012 ONSC 2206)

Jason D. Singer acted as co-counsel for the Plaintiffs, an elderly couple who suffered a significant fire loss to their home.  They sought assistance from their insurer, Wawanesa who retained Strone Construction to repair their home.  After paying some amounts and partly completing the work, the insurer refused to pay any further amounts, alleging that the Plaintiffs had prepared a fraudulent proof of loss and that they had been sufficiently compensated for the loss.  The insurer also launched a $500,000 counter claim against the Plaintiffs.  As noted by the Trial Judge in his decision the defendant took a scorched earth approach to the claim.

Following a 14 day trial, the Plaintiffs were wholly successful against the insurer and Strone.  The Court found that the insurer had failed to establish fraud and that the defendants were liable for further payments to repair the Plaintiffs’ home and replace their contents.  Additionally, the Court ordered that the insurer pay $100,000 in punitive damages for acting in bad faith by launching a high-handed counter claim against the Plaintiffs as a litigation tactic.

 

* Past results are not necessarily indicative of future results as each case will depend on its own facts.