City’s ap­peal of $8M rul­ing re­jected by top court

The Hamilton Spectator - - LOCAL - MATTHEW VAN DONGEN The Hamil­ton Spec­ta­tor mvan­don­gen@thespec.com 905-526-3241 | @Mat­tatthes­pec

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.

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