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Vigilante HEDGE CUTTING NEIGHBOUR hit with PUNITIVE DAMAGES for 6 month CHAINSAW ATTACK 2023/09/05 19:45  
Not legal advice as usual.

Was it a calculated RISK with lotsa chutzpah by a SURREY B.C neighbour armed with a chainsaw ?

Or what has turned out to be badly mis-calculated NIGHTMARE GONE VIRAL and triggering more than $150 K in judicial awards against one held-trespassing neighbour ?

She has been held to have used her CHAINSAW OVER an incredible SIX MONTHS of chainsaw attacks on a hedge totally on her neighbour's property !

Not some sudden short-term loss of sanity. Did she expect to be hit only with a couple of bucks like some sorta licence to get rid of a neighbour's mature hedge trees ?

( The wider background - whatever ? - is not developed by the summary judicial Order and injunction. In perspective some BC subdivisions purport to protect neighbours' views by covenants on title; is this one such ? Is it even a scenario out of a Building Scheme covenant war , s220 Statutory or otherwise ? )

WHATEVER, the infrequency of punitive damages awards, may have helped drive this one viral too.

0973210 B.C. Ltd. v Khatkar, 2023 BCSC 1529
issued June 27/23

Sep 1/23 Vancouver SUN :
“Surrey woman destroys neighbour's cedar hedge, court hits her for $150K in damages . subtitle : A quarter of the amount awarded was for punitive damages, a rare step designed to denounce the defendant's actions and deter others ” by Susan Lazaruk for-150k-in-damages
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Vigilante HEDGE CUTTING NEIGHBOUR hit with PUNITIVE DAMAGES for 6 month CHAINSAW ATTACK 2023/09/06 12:08  
Not legal advice, as usual.

Is a large debt - in illustrating "punitive damage scenarios" - owed to British Columbia chainsaws & tree-cutting neighbours ?

Cross reference : see also : “GIBSON v FK Developments : Declarant's ILLEGAL TRESPASS & TREECUTTING trigger PUNITIVE DAMAGES”

1 - FROM ( 0973210 B.C. Ltd. v Khatkar, 2023 BCSC 1529 ) Madame Justice Francis :

" . . . . . [30] Next I turn to punitive damages. The plaintiff seeks a punitive damages award in the range of $30,000 to $35,000.

This is primarily on the basis that the defendant's trespass was a deliberate and wilful action done without regard for her neighbour's property rights. The defendant repeatedly interfered with the plaintiff's property, notwithstanding express communications and warnings denying her permission, including communications from the police.

[31] I agree with the plaintiff that the defendant's conduct was reckless, high‑handed, and is without question deserving of punitive damages.

Such reckless disregard for the property rights of others ought to be discouraged for reasons of denunciation and deterrence.

As such, I assess punitive damages in the amount of $35,000. . . ." - unquote

2 - How much chutzpah or risk-taking does or should it take to trigger a judge to go beyond simply 'making an injured plaintiff as whole as possible ' ?

To further award for denunciation, deterrence, social retribution or whatever ? How easy or smart would it be for CIVIL COURTS - not CRIMINAL - to frequently have to sort out degrees of outrageousness or intent potentially triggering a punitive award ?

Media reviews going viral, include a reference to a leading authority for punitive awards not literally cited by Madam Justice Francis. Susan Lazaruk's article adds :

Whiten v. Pilot Insurance Co., [2002] 1 SCR 595, 2002 SCC 18 issued Feb 22/02

see also : July 21/18 ToStar B Aaron LLB “This retired judge defended homeowners from abusive insurance companies” abusive-insurance-companies.html ( that Canada's S.C.C. Supreme Court restored dissent by Justice John I. Laskin " a legacy of many brilliant decisions." )

Majority in S.C.C. " The jury’s award of punitive damages, though high, was within rational limits. The respondent insurer’s conduct towards the appellant was exceptionally reprehensible. It forced her to put at risk her only remaining asset (the $345,000 insurance claim) plus $320,000 in costs that she did not have. The denial of the claim was designed to force her to make an unfair settlement for less than she was entitled to.

The conduct was planned and deliberate and continued for over two years, while the financial situation of the appellant grew increasingly desperate.

The jury evidently believed that the respondent knew from the outset that its arson defence was contrived and unsustainable.

Insurance contracts are sold by the insurance industry and purchased by members of the public for peace of mind. The more devastating the loss, the more the insured may be at the financial mercy of the insurer, and the more difficult it may be to challenge a wrongful refusal to pay the claim. . .

The jury decided a powerful message of denunciation, retribution and deterrence had to be sent to the respondent and they sent it. . . ." - S.C.C. 2002

3 - But some British Columbia chainsaws in the hands of neighbours with chutzpah, sometimes clear a high bar . . . .
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