Getting in a bar fight is seldom a good idea. Reasons for judgement were published this week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, providing 226,000 reasons to think twice before doing so.
In today’s case (Thompson v. Fraser) the Defendant, who was employed as a school teacher, got into an altercation with other patrons at the lounge bar of Vancouver’s Pan Pacific Hotel. The Plaintiff, a security guard, was called to deal with the situation and proceeded to escort the Defendant out. The Defendant then “sucker-punched the plaintiff in the face, badly and permanently damaging the bony structure around his left eye.“. The court described it as “a thoroughly disgraceful incident.”
The Defendant was criminally charged and convicted of assault causing bodily harm. The criminal consequences were “extremely lenient” with the imposition of a mere conditional discharge. Mr. Justice Baird, presiding over the civil suit, opined “part of the reason for this, I have no doubt, was the understanding that eventually he would have to answer for his misconduct in a civil lawsuit and, in all likelihood, pay the plaintiff a sizeable sum in damages.”
The assault caused serious injury requiring”metallic gear fused into his facial bones that causes him significant pain and discomfort when it is cold outside. There is a screw directly beneath his left eye that he can feel with his finger and causes a great deal of pain on incidental contact.“.
In assessing global damages at $266,000 including $10,000 for aggravated damages Mr. Justice Baird provided the following reasons: