Gautam v Canada Line Rapid Transit Inc, 2015 BCSC 2038
7/25/2016 9:51 AM
Gautam is a recent decision from the Supreme Court of British Columbia in which the Court ruled on issues revolving around injurious affection in the context of a class proceeding.
The court found firstly that the activities of the defendants in Gautam interfered with the use and enjoyment of property by the class members.
Secondly, the court found that there was statutory authority for the interference with the use and enjoyment of the class members’ property, thereby absolving the defendants from liability for economic loss resulting from nuisance.
Thirdly, and importantly, the court found that the interference resulted in injurious affection for which compensation could be claimed by an owner or tenant. The court stated that it was the ability to assert the claim that was raised – not whether all members of the class would succeed. The court determined that the common issue raised was whether, on the evidence adduced at trial, the law permits parties in the position of the class members to advance a claim for injurious affection. The court concluded that an injury to the land itself may include, at law, the effect upon the value of the land of a reduction in its rental value, whether temporary or permanent, and whether sustained by the landowner or the lease holder – noting that it is not the loss of rent that is compensable, but the consequent loss of value. The plaintiffs established that reductions in rental value were sustained during the period of construction and that property values, over all, were impacted. The court concluded that in such circumstances, a claim for injurious affection may be advanced but that it would remain to be determined whether and to what extent any particular landowner or leaseholder had thereby sustained a loss.
This case is interesting in that it provides precedent for moving cases of injurious affection forward on a class-basis. This provides an economical means of putting forward claims where a group of landowners has been impacted by a public project.
If you have questions or would like to discuss this topic further, please contact Jeremy Smith at Patterson Law at 1-888-897-2001.
Please note that this article is meant to provide information only and is not intended to confer legal advice or opinion. If you have any further questions please consult a lawyer. Please note as well that many of the statements are general principles which may vary on a case-by-case basis.