Participants in Stanley Cup Riot were not jointly and severally responsible for all the damage caused to vehicles insured by ICBC during the riot.
Insurance law – Automobile insurance – Actions – Intentional acts – Vandalism – Joint and several liability – Conversion – Damages – Punitive damages
Insurance Corp. of British Columbia v. Alexander,  B.C.J. No. 1252, 2016 BCSC 1108, British Columbia Supreme Court, June 16, 2016, E.M. Myers J.
The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (“ICBC”) brought an action against multiple defendants for damage done to vehicles it insured during the Stanley Cup Riot. ICBC paid the vehicle owners for their losses and pursued 82 defendants who participated in the riot and who were criminally convicted and sentenced in separate proceedings.
The primary issue was the defendants’ liability for the tort of conversion to the individual vehicle owners in whose shoes ICBC stood as their insurer. In essence, the claim was comprised of separate claims by individual vehicle owners.
The main and novel legal issue raised by the claim was whether the defendants were jointly liable for all the damage claimed, or portions of it, due to the defendants having participated in the riot as a whole.
The Court accepted that the ten defendants who opposed ICBC’s claim participated in the riot in varying degrees and most of them took part in damaging one or more vehicles to varying degrees.
The action was allowed in part. The Court could not find that all of the defendants had the common purpose of destroying vehicles. Their participation in the riot did not establish joint and several liability for torts committed during the riot. On an individual basis, the defendants were found jointly liable for the full damage to vehicles they were actively involved in destroying. The Court concluded that punitive damages were not warranted because the defendants had been adequately punished in the criminal proceedings.
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