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Damage Assessments on Appeal

Damage Assessments on Appeal

“An appellate court will not interfere with a trial judge’s assessment of damages unless he or she erred in principle of law, misapprehended the evidence, failed to consider relevant factors or considered irrelevant factors, or there was no evidence on which the judge could have reached his or her conclusion: Naylor Group Inc. v. Ellis-Don Construction Ltd., 2001 SCC 58 at para. 80.  

An award is inordinately low if it falls substantially below the range for damage awards in the same class of case, such that it demonstrates palpable and overriding error: Cory v. Marsh (1993), 77 B.C.L.R. (2d) 248 (C.A.); Le v. Luz, 2003 BCCA 640.”

As stated by the Supreme Court of Canada in the Naylor Group v Ellis-Don case stated:

It is common ground that the Court of Appeal was not entitled to substitute its own view of a proper award unless it could be shown that the trial judge had made an error of principle of law, or misapprehended the evidence (Lang v. Pollard, [1957] S.C.R. 858, at p. 862), or it could be shown there was no evidence on which the trial judge could have reached his or her conclusion (Woelk v. Halvorson, [1980] 2 S.C.R. 430, at p. 435), or the trial judge failed to consider relevant factors in the assessment of damages, or considered irrelevant factors, or otherwise, in the result, made “a palpably incorrect” or “wholly erroneous” assessment of the damages (Andrews v. Grand & Toy Alberta Ltd., [1978] 2 S.C.R. 229, at p. 235; Laurentide Motels Ltd. v. Beauport (City), [1989] 1 S.C.R. 705, at p. 810; Widrig v. Strazer, [1964] S.C.R. 376, at pp. 388-89; Woelk, supra, at pp. 435-37; Waddams, supra, at para. 13.420; and H. D. Pitch and R. M. Snyder, Damages for Breach of Contract (2nd ed. 1989) 15§5).  Where one or more of these conditions are met, however, the appellate court is obliged to interfere. 

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