ICBC Ordered to Pay $350,000 in Punitive Damages for False Fraud Allegation
Reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, ordering ICBC to pay $350,000 in punitive damages for malicious prosecution following assertions that the Plaintiff acted fraudulently following a pedestrian collision.
In today’s case (Arsenovski v. Bodin) the Plaintiff was walking with her husband when he was struck by a vehicle. The Plaintiff was not struck by the vehicle but did fall down and suffer some modest injuries during the incident and she reported this to ICBC. Specifically she told ICBC that “the last thing I remember was stepping off the curb to cross the street. I don’t know how far we had walked on the street. The next thing I remember was being on the pavement“.
ICBC, through a Special Investigations Unit officer employed with them, requested that Crown Counsel prosecute the Plaintiff for fraud as she was not struck by the vehicle. Charges for making a false statement to ICBC were approved.
The problem is the statement was not false. The charges were stayed on the day of the start of the criminal trial.
The Plaintiff sued ICBC for malicious prosecution and succeeded with Madam Justice Griffin finding that ICBC’s false fraud allegations and actions were “so high-handed, reprehensible and malicious that it offends this Court’s sense of decency“. In finding $350,000 in punitive damages were appropriate the Court provided the following reasons: