There was what Newbury JA of the BC Court of Appeal called
'a very unfortunate turn of events' at a social function
for associates and students of a Vancouver law firm: Poole v
Lombard General Insurance Co of Canada, 2102 BCCA 434. After a
firm-sponsored dinner at a restaurant, some young members of the
firm went on to a nightclub. That portion of the evening was
voluntary although typical of similar evenings in the past. Poole
(an associate) fell on Danicek (a student) on the dancefloor,
causing brain injuries. Poole admitted liability and ultimately
settled with Danicek, but claimed coverage under the firm's
insurance policy and challenged the insurer's denial of that
coverage. The trial judge held that the insurer had a duty to
defend Poole from the claim brought by Danicek, but that the
latter's claim was not covered by the firm's policy given
that the claims did not arise 'out of or in the course of'
her employment with the firm. Poole appealed on the coverage
Madam Justice Newbury (her colleagues concurring) agreed with
Poole that the reference in the policy to 'any employee .. with
respect to their [sic] employment' should be interpreted
broadly to include a student like Danicek who was attending a
function that had some connection with her work, even if the
nightclub portion of the evening had not been part of the official
programme. Justice Newbury agreed with the trial judge, however,
that Poole was, when he fell on Danicek, not acting 'with
respect to his employment' (even though that phrase is broader
than the 'in the course of his or her employment' language
elsewhere in the policy). Poole was thus outside the scope of
coverage provided by the policy; it could not be said that 'any
connection, however tenuous' to Poole and Danicek's work
was sufficient to bring a nightclub dancing accident within the
four corners of the policy. The policy's language required
'that a line be drawn on a commercially reasonable basis
between what are essentially firm functions and what are
essentially social functions – notwithstanding some weak
connection between the latter and an insured's
It's not often that our little blog intersects with such titanic struggles as the U.S. presidential race – and by using the term "titanic" I certainly don't mean to suggest that anything disastrous is in the future.
J.J. v. C.C., is an interesting case in which the court held that an automotive garage owes a duty to minor children to secure the vehicles on the premises by locking the cars and safely storing the car keys...
In Irwin v. Alberta Veterinary Medical Association, 2015 ABCA 396, the Alberta Court of Appeal found that the "ABVMA" failed to afford procedural fairness to a veterinarian undergoing an incapacity assessment.
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