Aspen Interiors Inc. v. Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Co., 2015 SKQB 3

Judge:R.S. Smith, J.
Court:Court of Queen's Bench for Saskatchewan
Case Date:January 05, 2015
Jurisdiction:Saskatchewan
Citations:2015 SKQB 3;(2015), 466 Sask.R. 147 (QB)
 
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Aspen Interiors v. Wawanesa Mutual (2015), 466 Sask.R. 147 (QB)

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Temp. Cite: [2015] Sask.R. TBEd. JA.051

Aspen Interiors Inc. (plaintiff/applicant) v. The Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company (defendant/respondent)

(2011 QBG No. 223; 2015 SKQB 3)

Indexed As: Aspen Interiors Inc. v. Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Co.

Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench

Judicial Centre of Saskatoon

R.S. Smith, J.

January 5, 2015.

Summary:

The plaintiff was in the construction business. Its equipment was ensured with the defendant. When the plaintiff's articulating boom lift with attached manbasket (the lift) became stuck in mud on a construction site, the operator attempted to free it by putting the lift's arm and basket into the ground to lever the lift out of the mud. This caused $46,500 in damage to the lift. The defendant denied coverage under a clause excluding damage where "the weight of the load" exceeded the lift's registered lifting or supporting capacity. The plaintiff sued, asserting that, as the manbasket was not being used as a lift, there was no load exceeding the registered capacity.

The Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench dismissed the action.

Contracts - Topic 2126

Terms - Express terms - Exclusionary clauses - Interpretation - The plaintiff was in the construction business - Its equipment was ensured with the defendant - When the plaintiff's articulating boom lift with attached manbasket (the lift) became stuck in mud on a construction site, the operator attempted to free it by putting the lift's arm and basket into the ground to lever the lift out of the mud - This caused $46,500 in damage to the lift - The defendant denied coverage under a clause excluding damage where "the weight of the load" exceeded the lift's registered lifting or supporting capacity - The plaintiff sued, asserting that, as the manbasket was not being used as a lift, there was no load exceeding the registered capacity - The Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench dismissed the action - To restrict the word load to simply mean that which the lift was raising off the ground was too narrow an interpretation in the context of a policy covering construction equipment - The sensible commercial result was to interpret load in a way that would include external resistance being applied to the lift or overall force to which the lift was being subjected - Here, the operator was using the boom as a lever to extract or move the lift from the mud - That act exceeded the registered lifting or supporting capacity of the lift - The exclusion clause was engaged.

Contracts - Topic 7406

Interpretation - General principles - Interpretation by context - [See Contracts - Topic 2126 ].

Contracts - Topic 7416

Interpretation - General principles - Most commercially reasonable interpretation - [See Contracts - Topic 2126 ].

Contracts - Topic 7526

Interpretation - Surrounding circumstances - Commercial setting - [See Contracts - Topic 2126 ].

Insurance - Topic 1856

The insurance contract - Interpretation of contract - Exclusions - [See Contracts - Topic 2126 ].

Insurance - Topic 1859

The insurance contract - Interpretation of contract - Construction - Sensible commercial result - [See Contracts - Topic 2126 ].

Insurance - Topic 1864

The insurance contract - Interpretation of contract - By context - [See Contracts - Topic 2126 ].

Words and Phrases

Load - The Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench discussed the interpretation of the word "load" as found in an exclusion clause in a construction industry insurance contract.

Cases Noticed:

Reid Crowther & Partners Ltd. v. Simcoe & Erie General Insurance Co., [1993] 1 S.C.R. 252; 147 N.R. 44; 83 Man.R.(2d) 81; 36 W.A.C. 81, refd to. [para. 15].

Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Co. v. Hewson, [2005] 1 W.W.R. 205; 254 Sask.R. 203; 336 W.A.C. 203; 2004 SKCA 112, refd to. [para. 17].

Patricia Hotel (1973) Ltd. v. Saskatchewan Government Insurance (2011), 375 Sask.R. 50; 525 W.A.C. 50; 334 D.L.R.(4th) 740; 2011 SKCA 70, refd to. [para. 18].

Counsel:

Matthew R. Wawryk, for Aspen Interiors Inc.;

Robert J. Affleck, for Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company.

This action was heard by R.S. Smith, J., of the Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench, Judicial Centre of Saskatoon, who delivered the following judgment on January 5, 2015.

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