Adult Who Directed Assault of 14 Year Old High School Student Ordered to Pay over $479,000 in Damages

Reasons for judgment were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages just over $479,000 following an assault by the then 45 year old Defendannt against a 14 year old Plaintiff.

In today’s case (Siegerist v. Tilton) the Plaintiff suffered serous injuries after an assault orchestrated by the Defendant.  The circumstances of the beating were summarized as follows:

[1]            On April 15, 2009, the plaintiff, Riley Siegerist, was assaulted moments after he left the grounds of his high school in Delta, B.C. to walk home. Mr. Siegerist was 14 years old and a grade 9 student at that time. Acting on the instruction of the defendant, Michael Tilton, two adult males, one or both wielding telescopic metal batons, jumped out of a vehicle driven by Mr. Tilton, ran after Mr. Siegerist, and physically assaulted him. When they paused at Mr. Tilton’s instruction, Mr. Siegerist was physically assaulted by Mr. Tilton’s eldest son, M.T. Mr. Tilton was approximately 45 years old at that time.

[2]            When A.S., a student standing nearby, tried to prevent Mr. Tilton from joining in the assault, Mr. Tilton head-butted him. Indeed, according to Mr. Tilton, after his son assaulted Mr. Siegerist, Mr. Tilton walked over to Mr. Siegerist and said words to the effect, “Are we even now?”

The Defendant was criminally convicted of two counts of assault causing bodily harm.  In the civil trial he unsuccessfully attempted to deny liability.

The assault caused serious physical and psychological injuries.  In assessing global damages at just over $479,000 including non-pecuniary damages of $125,000 Mr. Justice Walker provided the following summary of the injuries:

[199]     At the age of 14 years old, Mr. Siegerist sustained a disabling concussion, bruising and abrasions throughout his body, including his head, neck, and back, a mild traumatic brain injury (concussion), a fracture to his nose, black eyes, and soft tissue injuries to his neck and back. At 26 years old, he is now left with permanent ongoing chronic pain that in turn causes frequent, severe, disabling headaches (which are migranious in nature and about half of the time cause him to vomit), continues to affect his mood, and caused mental health injuries and symptoms. The battery has left him anxious and depressed, fearful for his safety and that of his family, hyper-vigilant, socially withdrawn, and caused him to suffer suicidal ideation and panic attacks.

[200]     I accept Mr. Siegerist’s evidence that the battery is etched in his memory. His psychological symptoms are akin to PTSD. His physical and psychological injuries have affected all aspects of his life. He no longer engages in sports, finds it painful to engage in rough play or physical activities with his young sons as well as in many daily and household activities, and refrains from participating in social events outside of his home with his wife and children as much as possible (which in turn puts an unwelcome burden on his marriage). His injuries have also adversely impacted his ability to work and earn income, past and future, and to carry out many household tasks.

[220]     In my opinion, the facts of the case at bar are closer in nature to Crozier than Evans, particularly since Mr. Siegerist’s headaches have not improved, as they did in Evans by 60%. My findings concerning the Stapley factors are discussed in paras. 199-200 above. I assess $125,000 as a fair and appropriate award for non-pecuniary damages.

Battery, bc injury law, Mr. Justice Walker, Siegerist v. Tilton

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ERIK
MAGRAKEN

Personal Injury Lawyer

When not writing the BC Injury Law Blog, Erik is the managing partner at MacIsaac & Company, based in Victoria, B.C. He is also involved with combative sports regulatory issues and authors the Combat Sports Law Blog.

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