City’s appeal of $8M ruling rejected by top court
The City of Hamilton has lost its last-ditch bid to appeal an $8-million negligence ruling over a child struck by a car after a crossing guard left early almost 15 years ago.
The Supreme Court of Canada dismissed the city’s application for leave to appeal the long-running case in a decision posted online Thursday.
That means the city will “finally have to pay the piper” two years after Dean Saumur and his mother Janet Saumur, his litigation guardian, were awarded close to $8 million in a 2015 trial, said lawyer Robert Hooper, who added the uncertainty and repeated appeal attempts have been tough on the family.
“The delay has been frustrating, for them,” he said. “Dean’s mother has been confident her son was wronged from the beginning. But I think she would say it has taken far too long to get this just result.”
The large city payout will now also include an extra $400,000 or so in accumulated interest and awarded court costs, Hooper estimated. The city lost a provincial court of appeal decision in 2016 before making a final failed application to appeal to Canada’s top court.
The city will pay a $1-million deductible with its insurer covering the balance of the court award.
Risk management head John McLennan said the city will review the decision in conjunction with its insurers, but he couldn’t immediately comment further.
Last year, he said while the city disagrees with the court’s findings in the case, “we have every sympathy for Dean Saumur and his family.”
“Dean’s injuries were certainly significant and life-altering and we have great admiration for the determination and perseverance he has demonstrated with his recovery,” he wrote at the time.
Dean Saumur was 10 at the time of the 2002 crash that left him with permanent brain damage.
The boy was on his way to school when he got to the corner of Gray Road and Collegiate Avenue in Stoney Creek. He was struck by a car while crossing the intersection.
The court ultimately found the crossing guard had left a few minutes early and found the driver of the car and the city shared responsibility for the crash.
The family eventually settled with the driver of the car, but the city initially argued the crash happened after the crossing guard was off the clock and that the boy was negligent in crossing the road. The crossing guard has also maintained she stayed at her post for the duration of her shift.