Allan Estate v. Co-operators Life Insurance Co. et al., 1999 BCCA 35

JudgeLambert, Esson and Braidwood, JJ.A.
CourtCourt of Appeal (British Columbia)
Case DateJanuary 22, 1999
JurisdictionBritish Columbia
Citations1999 BCCA 35;(1999), 117 B.C.A.C. 237 (CA)

Allan Estate v. Co-op Life (1999), 117 B.C.A.C. 237 (CA);

   191 W.A.C. 237

MLB headnote and full text

Temp. Cite: [1999] B.C.A.C. TBEd. FE.034

Eleanor Charlton and Tammy Marie Marcoux, Executors of the Will of Eleanor Allyson Allan, Deceased (plaintiffs/appellants) v. The Co-operators Life Insurance Company (defendant/respondent) and P.E. Jones and Associates and Deirdre Laforest (third parties)

(V03088; 1999 BCCA 35)

Indexed As: Allan Estate v. Co-operators Life Insurance Co. et al.

British Columbia Court of Appeal

Lambert, Esson and Braidwood, JJ.A.

January 22, 1999.

Summary:

A real estate salesperson became totally disabled from working as a result of a men­tal illness. She became entitled to disability payments under the employer's group insur­ance policy. After two years, the policy required that the beneficiary be unable to work at any position for which she was reasonably qualified, or for which she might become qualified. The insurer required the salesperson to undergo a psychiatric evalu­ation. The insurer determined that the salesperson was not totally disabled from all occupations and discontinued her disability payments. Shortly thereafter, the salesperson received a copy of the psychiatrist's report on her. The salesperson committed suicide. The executrixes of her estate, and her mother, sued the insurer for breach of the insurance policy and, in the alternative, claimed under the Family Compensation Act for damages for wrongful death. The insurer, with the plaintiffs' consent, set down a question of law for determination under rule 34. The question posed was whether the plaintiffs' claim for punitive damages was barred by ss. 59(2), (3) and (4) of the Estate Administration Act.

The British Columbia Supreme Court, in a decision reported in [1997] B.C.T.C. Uned. 953; 37 B.C.L.R.(3d) 45, answered the question in the affirmative. The plaintiffs appealed.

The British Columbia Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal.

Damages - Topic 1296.1

Exemplary or punitive damages - Exemp­lary or punitive damages defined - The British Columbia Court of Appeal dis­cussed the nature of punitive damages - See paragraphs 65 to 66, 68.

Damages - Topic 1297

Exemplary or punitive damages - When awarded - The executrixes of the estate of a deceased insured sued her insurer for (1) wrongful repudiation of the insurer's obli­gations under the disability policy, (2) breach of the duty of good faith owed to a policy beneficiary and (3) violation of the insured's privacy under the Privacy Act - The British Columbia Court of Appeal held that on any of the three heads of claim an award of punitive damages was not within the loss or damage contem­plated in any action by the executrixes for the benefit of the estate, either at common law or under the Estate Administration Act - The executrixes' alternate claim under the Family Compensation Act also could not support an award of punitive damages - See paragraphs 77 to 88.

Damages - Topic 1305

Exemplary or punitive damages - Breach of contract - The British Columbia Court of Appeal held that punitive damages could not be assessed or recovered in an action in debt or in contract at common law - See paragraphs 75 to 76.

Damages - Topic 1313

Exemplary or punitive damages - Wrong­ful death - The British Columbia Court of Appeal held that punitive damages could not be assessed or awarded in a Family Compensation Act action - See paragraphs 70 to 71 - The court further held that punitive damages could not be assessed or recovered in an action under the Estate Administration Act - See paragraphs 72 to 74.

Damages - Topic 2104

Torts causing death - Damages recover­able - [See Damages - Topic 1297 ].

Executors and Administrators - Topic 5081

Actions by and against representatives - Actions by executors - General - [See Practice - Topic 550 ].

Executors and Administrators - Topic 5120

Actions by and against representatives - Actions by administrators - General - [See Practice - Topic 550 ].

Practice - Topic 550

Parties - Death of a party - General - The British Columbia Court of Appeal dis­cussed what actions of a plaintiff or po­tential plaintiff were barred at common law by the death of the plaintiff - See para­graphs 35 to 48 - The court also discussed the effect of legislation, particu­larly the Estate Administration Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 122, s. 59, on this issue - See para­graphs 49 to 59 - The court contrasted an action under the Family Compensation Act with one under the Estate Administration Act, in this regard - See paragraph 63.

Practice - Topic 5261

Trials - General - Trial of preliminary issues - Issues of law - The British Col­umbia Court of Appeal stated that a court was not obliged to decide a question of law that was put to it by the consent of the parties under rule 34 - The court had an over-riding jurisdiction to decline to answer the question posed under rule 34 at all and to let that question be decided at trial - Among the important considerations were whether the answer to the question could permit the elimination of a claim insupportable in law, and whether the answer to the question could permit a substantial shortening of the trial and a substantial saving of expense - See para­graph 18.

Practice - Topic 5266

Trials - General - Trial of preliminary issues - Stating special case by consent - General - [See Practice - Topic 5261 ].

Cases Noticed:

Alcan Smelters & Chemicals Ltd. v. Cana­dian Association of Smelters and Allied Workers (1977), 3 B.C.L.R. 163 (S.C.), refd to. [para. 18].

Can-Dive Services Ltd. et al. v. Pacific Coast Energy Corp. et al. (1993), 25 B.C.A.C. 175; 43 W.A.C. 175; 77 B.C.L.R.(2d) 128 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 18].

British Columbia Teachers' Federation v. British Columbia (Attorney General), [1987] 1 W.W.R. 527 (B.C.C.A.), refd to. [para. 18].

Campbell v. Read (1987), 22 B.C.L.R.(2d) 214 (C.A.), consd. [para. 19].

Monaghan v. Horn (1882), 7 S.C.R. 409, refd to. [para. 32].

Pynchon's Case (1611), B. & M. 455; 9 Co. Rep. 86b, refd to. [para. 33].

McCulloch v. Green (1995), 56 B.C.A.C. 122; 92 W.A.C. 122; 11 B.C.L.R.(3d) 374 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 34].

Raymond v. Fitch (1835), 2 Cr. M. & R. 588; 150 E.R. 251, refd to. [para. 36].

Chamberlain v. Williamson (1814), 2 M. & S. 433, refd to. [para. 37].

Finlay v. Chirney (1888), 20 Q.B.D. 494 (C.A.), consd. [para. 40].

Airey v. Airey, [1958] 2 All E.R. 571 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 56].

Johnstone v. Jacobson (1980), 22 B.C.L.R. 86 (S.C.), refd to. [para. 59].

Warrington v. Great-West Life Assurance Co. (1996), 81 B.C.A.C. 164; 132 W.A.C. 164; 24 B.C.L.R.(3d) 1 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 65].

Vorvis v. Insurance Corp. of British Col­umbia, [1989] 1 S.C.R. 1085; 94 N.R. 321; [1989] 4 W.W.R. 218; 58 D.L.R.(4th) 193; 36 B.C.L.R.(2d) 273; 90 C.L.L.C. 14,035; 25 C.C.E.L. 81, refd to. [para. 66].

Rookes v. Barnard, [1964] A.C. 1129 (H.L.), refd to. [para. 67].

Huff v. Price (1990), 51 B.C.L.R.(2d) 282 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 69].

Statutes Noticed:

Estate Administration Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 122, sect. 59 [para. 58].

Family Compensation Act, R.S.B.C. 1979, c. 120, sect. 2, sect. 3, sect. 6 [para. 62].

Rules of Court (B.C.), Supreme Court Rules, rule 34(1) [para. 14].

Authors and Works Noticed:

Bowker, Wilbur F., The Uniform Survival of Actions Act (1964), 3 Alta. L. Rev. 197, generally [para. 63].

Broom, Legal Maxims, generally [para. 36].

Laycraft, J.A., Survival of Claims for Loss of Expectation of Life (1964), 3 Alta. L. Rev. 202, generally [para. 60].

Shepherd, William, England's Balme (1657), generally [para. 60].

Counsel:

J.J. Gow, Q.C., for the appellant;

P.J. Pearlman, Q.C., for the respondent.

This appeal was heard at Victoria, British Columbia, on October 6, 1998, before Lambert, Esson and Braidwood, JJ.A., of the British Columbia Court of Appeal.

On January 22, 1999, Lambert, J.A., delivered the following judgment for the Court of Appeal in Vancouver, British Columbia.

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20 practice notes
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    ...(1991), [1992] 1 AC 310, [1991] 4 All ER 907, [1991] 3 WLR 1057 (HL) ................ 243 Allan Estate v Co-operators Life Insurance Co, 1999 BCCA 35 ........................ 210 Allen v Ainsworth Lumber Co, 2011 BCSC 1707, aff’d 2013 BCCA 271 ............. 39 All-Up Consulting Enterprises ......
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    ...not on the conduct that caused the death. See also Steinkrauss v Afridi , 2013 ABQB 179; Allan Estate v Co-operators Life Insurance Co , 1999 BCCA 35; Glenn v Seair Seaplanes Ltd , 2012 BCSC 1726 [ Glenn ]. Courts have sometimes focused on the exceptionally outrageous nature of the defendan......
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    ...v. MacQueen, [1956] S.C.R. 555; 3 D.L.R.(2d) 481, refd to. [para. 35]. Allan Estate v. Co-operators Life Insurance Co. et al. (1999), 117 B.C.A.C. 237; 191 W.A.C. 237; 1999 BCCA 35, refd to. [para. R. v. Jobidon, [1991] 2 S.C.R. 714; 128 N.R. 321; 49 O.A.C. 83; 66 C.C.C.(3d) 454, refd to. [......
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17 cases
  • Plester v. Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Co., (2006) 213 O.A.C. 241 (CA)
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    • 21 November 2005
    ...S.C.R. 1130; 184 N.R. 1; 84 O.A.C. 1; 126 D.L.R.(4th) 129, consd. [para. 62]. Allan Estate v. Co-operators Life Insurance Co. et al. (1999), 117 B.C.A.C. 237; 191 W.A.C. 237; 62 B.C.L.R.(3d) 329 (C.A.), consd. [para. McFarlane v. Safadi et al. (2004), 185 O.A.C. 388; 70 O.R.(3d) 599 (C.A.),......
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    • Nunavut Nunavut Court of Justice (Canada)
    • 28 April 2005
    ...v. MacQueen, [1956] S.C.R. 555; 3 D.L.R.(2d) 481, refd to. [para. 35]. Allan Estate v. Co-operators Life Insurance Co. et al. (1999), 117 B.C.A.C. 237; 191 W.A.C. 237; 1999 BCCA 35, refd to. [para. R. v. Jobidon, [1991] 2 S.C.R. 714; 128 N.R. 321; 49 O.A.C. 83; 66 C.C.C.(3d) 454, refd to. [......
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    • British Columbia Court of Appeal (British Columbia)
    • 16 October 2008
    ...143; 406 W.A.C. 143; 72 B.C.L.R.(4th) 1; 2007 BCCA 448, refd to. [para. 51]. Allan Estate v. Co-operators Life Insurance Co. et al. (1999), 117 B.C.A.C. 237; 191 W.A.C. 237; 62 B.C.L.R.(3d) 329; 1999 BCCA 35, refd to. [para. M.M. Skorah and J.K. Lamb, for the appellants; N. Steinman, for th......
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    • Court of Appeal (British Columbia)
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    ...In advancing this argument the respondents also rely on Charlton v. The Co‑operators Life Insurance Co., 1999 BCCA 35 [Charlton] (sub nom. Allan Estate (Executors of) v. Co-operators Life Insurance Co.) where the key issue was whether a claim for punitive damages against a disability......
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1 firm's commentaries
  • ABCA Opens The Door To Punitive Damages For Surviving Dependents
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    • Mondaq Canada
    • 28 January 2014
    ...in Gates J.'s reasons for judgment) and the British Columbia Court of Appeal's ruling in Allan Estate v. Cooperators Life Insurance Co., 1999 BCCA 35. In these appeals, the Ontario and British Columbia Courts of Appeal ruled that punitive damages are not available under the applicable provi......
2 books & journal articles
  • Table of cases
    • Canada
    • Irwin Books Remedies: The Law of Damages. Third Edition Limiting Principles
    • 21 June 2014
    ...(1991), [1992] 1 AC 310, [1991] 4 All ER 907, [1991] 3 WLR 1057 (HL) ................ 243 Allan Estate v Co-operators Life Insurance Co, 1999 BCCA 35 ........................ 210 Allen v Ainsworth Lumber Co, 2011 BCSC 1707, aff’d 2013 BCCA 271 ............. 39 All-Up Consulting Enterprises ......
  • Compensation for Death
    • Canada
    • Irwin Books Remedies: The Law of Damages. Third Edition Compensatory Damages
    • 21 June 2014
    ...not on the conduct that caused the death. See also Steinkrauss v Afridi , 2013 ABQB 179; Allan Estate v Co-operators Life Insurance Co , 1999 BCCA 35; Glenn v Seair Seaplanes Ltd , 2012 BCSC 1726 [ Glenn ]. Courts have sometimes focused on the exceptionally outrageous nature of the defendan......

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