Provost v. Bolton, 2017 BCSC 1608
RHE Lawyers involved in precedent setting decision for accident involving a stolen vehicle.
Tony Leoni and David Eleff were trial counsel for Brandy Brundige, who was injured when she and her 5 year old son, who was a passenger, were struck at a high speed by a large truck driven by a thief. The truck had been stolen from a Vancouver car dealership. Employees of the dealership had left the truck running and unattended for about 40 minutes on the dealership lot, which was in a location where property crime was common. At the time of the accident, over an hour after the theft, the thief was being pursued by members of the RCMP. The thief was uninsured and fault was not contested on his behalf. The issue at trial was whether the dealership and the members of the RCMP were negligent, and whether their conduct caused or contributed to the accident.
On behalf of the dealership, ICBC argued that the injury to an innocent user of the road approximately an hour after a theft was not “reasonably foreseeable”, because a thief was no more likely than an ordinary user of the road to drive unsafely and cause a crash.
The trial judge categorically rejected ICBC’s argument, finding that “it is reasonably foreseeable that a stolen vehicle would cause serious damage and injuries to the police and bystanders in the vicinity of where the police are attempting to recover the stolen vehicle from the thief.” This is a precedent setting decision in British Columbia with respect to the liability of a commercial enterprise that fails to appropriately secure a vehicle in its possession. The trial judge also found liability against members of the RCMP for continuing a pursuit in an urban area, despite having been directed to stop the pursuit by a superior officer.
The trial to assess the amount of Ms. Brundige’s loss will continue in November 2017.
The full reasons for judgment can be found here.