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#18815
GIBSON v FK Developments :Declarant's ILLEGAL TRESPASS & TREECUTTING trigger PUNITIVE DAMAGES 2017/12/29 22:17  
It's as Wild West as many of the shockers from American HOA wars

BC Supreme Court awards damages – including $ 10 K PUNITIVE against EACH of the defendants - after previously ruling ILLEGAL & unsupported within the Building Scheme Covenant - a Building Scheme Declarant ’s shocking rogue invasion & tree trimming attack in Colwood B.C. in September 2012.

The outrageous "trespass & conversion" raid targeted the height of ocean-view mature Douglas Firs on 3 private properties ( including that of widowed plaintiff Ms Gibson.)

It occurred twenty years after plaintiff Gibson's purchase of Building Scheme root deed. Its purpose is held to be solely financial gain, so that the long-disconnected Declarant could now obtain higher sale price of rearside lots ! ( ie to trim the trees to improve the view's value to buyers. An expert witness opined that plaintiff Gibson's majestic Douglas Fir likely will not survive. )

Falsely claimed justified by Building Scheme Covenant, the invasion occurred early on a Saturday morning.

With police & municipal staff low, the Declarant ’s treecutters & LAWYER - waving immediate Notice here also ruled voodoo - even had their assault videotaped !

The invaders ignored protests & IMMEDIATELY began down a Blitzkrieg style trimming of the private Douglas Firs.

The trimming continued until police & municipal officials ordered a halt amidst wild chaos !

( Mr Justice Punnett clearly understood & denounces the careful timing of the surprise early morning raid by lawyer with treecutters in tow. ) . .

"We didn't know it was wrong !" "We had a mistaken 'colour of right' !"

Mr Justice Punnett has an easy time finding what justifies punitive damages sought by this widowed victim of greed & environmental depredation.

Right upfront is judicial confirmation that the trespass was illegal & unsupported by reviewed Covenant.

Determining awardable damage here there's also a punishment/retribution-meriting wrongful intent / knowledge factor : Months earlier such had even been expressly forbidden in writing ( by another neighbour’s lawyer to the invaders ) as flat out ultra vires of Covenant.

( 'post-wrong' held not germane to penalty here : When the raiders immediately next tried to bring the City onside, the City instead investigated & declared the cutting also a violation of municipal bylaw. )

This damage award – costs also to come – includes as many as four separate $10 K PUNITIVE ( exemplary ) damages ! Maybe these $ 10 K punishments aren't high, but they are less likely to be worth appealing. Mr Justice Punnett's decision about litigation costs & disbursements is still on the way . . . )

Footnote question about the Declarant's lawyer at the time who led the surprise raid ?

With that lawyer's ( waved ) neither-prior-nor-lawful Notice already held voodoo ( subject to appeal ), will professional sanctions & criminal trespass/mischief charges be hitting the lawyer & trespassers respectively ?

Gibson v F.K. Developments Ltd., 2017 BCSC 2153 issued Nov 24/17 http://canlii.ca/t/hnz60
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#18926
postcript : PUNITIVE COSTS ADDED for reprehensible litigation behaviour GIBSON v FK Developments 2019/01/27 18:12  
This adds a postscript to the Oct 2017 award of civil damages already awarded to the widowed victim of a U.S. style, outrageous and unlawful tree-cutting blitzkrieg.

( The Oct 2017 B.C. judgment had held the neighbouring developer's 2012 U.S. style self-help tree-cutting invasion to be a trespass and unlawful.

It's unclear if he had ever even been her own Statutory Building Scheme's declarant ! But he wanted her lowerlot's trees cut to improve the waterviews from his latest development lots and from his own ! )

In March 2018 the same B.C. judge further sustained ( for the victim ) so-called "special (litigation) costs" under B.C. civil procedural rules. That's beyond the damage awards previously ordered to try to make her whole as already awarded - now to further hit the defendant raiders for "reprehensible conduct" in the course of litigation !

Under B.C. civil procedure the victim had eventually sought $ 137 K for such post-decision "SPECIAL COSTS" sub-claim as here held sustained by the same judge.

The actual amount to be awarded for these "punishment"/ deterrence / denunciatory costs incurred for litigation shenanigans, gets left to be assessed by a civil functionary . . . .

It's unclear whether the Law Society of British Columbia will be asked to act on the judge's repeated chastisement of the activities of the invaders' ex-lawyer - the unidentified attorney who accompanied the surprise illegal raid and later filed a $ 700 K ( shaky ) counter-claim against the widowed victim ! . . .

In his defence, he would arguably NOT be conspicuous in Florida HOA disputes . . . Welcome to the Wild West of real Building Scheme disputes.

Gibson v F.K. Developments Ltd. 2018 BCSC 437 issued March 30/18 http://canlii.ca/t/hr3wg
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