(Kozzi)

Judge finds B.C. couple not liable after man slips, injures back on cleared sidewalk

The couple had cleared and salted the sidewalk in front of their home

A Burnaby couple is not liable for the injuries a man suffered when he fell on an icy sidewalk in front of their house, a B.C. Supreme Court judge has ruled.

According to court documents released Friday, Darwin Der was walking on the sloped sidewalk in front of the Burnaby home of Ang Zhao and Quianqiu Huang on Dec. 21, 2017.

He claimed the sidewalk appeared to have been cleared, but he slipped, fell backwards and hit his head. The then-75-year-old suffered a spinal injury and required surgery to fuse several vertebrae together.

Der’s claim sought damages from the City of Burnaby and blamed Zhao and Huang for not properly clearing the sidewalk.

The couple purchased the home in September 2017 and happened to move in on the same day as the fall.

Zhao claimed he had salted the sidewalk between Nov. 4 and Dec. 21, but did not recall on which days.

He said he went to the house after a heavy snowfall on Dec. 19 to clear the ice and snow, as per city bylaws, and used a shovel and spade.

Huang claimed she salted the sidewalk at about 8 a.m. on on Dec. 21 because it was moving day and the couple was worried the movers might fall.

When Zhao went to the home later that day, he claimed he saw salt on the sidewalk and believed it to be otherwise clean.

In her Nov. 22 judgment, Justice Heather MacNaughton found Der’s arguments to be “logically flawed.” She said he was essentially stating that homeowners did not have a duty of care to clear the sidewalk, but that they were liable if they cleared the sidewalk poorly.

“It is circular reasoning,” MacNaughton said.

She said Der failed to explain why Zhao and Huang should have been worried that their cleaning the sidewalk could have made it more, not less dangerous, as a result of the weather, the sidewalk structure or slope, and that ice could have formed after the fact.

ALSO READ: Former Canucks player suing financial advisors for negligence

ALSO READ: Aquilini companies deny negligence in U.S. vineyard fire that killed two kids


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Coast Mountain College sets up student emergency fund

It’ll provide grocery store gift cards for students affected by COVID-19 crisis

City gives no response to homelessness concerns

City demands shelter close, but no response to pleas from shelter to open Jim Ciccone Civic Centre

Landlords are panicked

Risk is real for April rent and greater challenges are foreshadowed for May

Parade of welcome and love in Prince Rupert

Friends welcome new baby in drive by visit

Trudeau rejects mandatory stay-at-home order for now; COVID deaths up

The virus has now infected more than 10,000 Canadians and cost 130 their lives

B.C. health officer says homemade masks may prevent spread of COVID-19 to others

Practising physical distancing, frequent hand washing and resisting touching your face are proven methods

B.C.’s senior home staff measures show results in COVID-19 battle

Dr. Bonnie Henry’s order restricts care aides to one facility

‘A matter of human decency’: Truckers’ union calls on gas stations, rest stops to fully re-open

Teamsters Canada wants feds, provinces to put pressure on facilities to re-open for transport workers

B.C. unveils $3.5M COVID-19 emergency fund for post-secondary students

Money will help students cover living expenses, food, travel, portable computers

‘We will get through this’: B.C. sees new COVID-19 death, but 57% have recovered

A total of 1,066 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

Canada’s 75% wage subsidy is coming, but not for several weeks: finance minister

Subsidy will cost Canada $71 billion, but push down cost of emergency benefit, Morneau said

COVID-19: ‘The Ballad of Bonnie Henry’ recorded and released

LISTEN: Quick turnaround for song penned by B.C. Order of Canada musician Phil Dwyer

Most Read