Blake v. Wells Estate, (2007) 249 B.C.A.C. 177 (CA)

JudgeFinch, C.J.B.C., Ryan and Chiasson, JJ.A.
CourtCourt of Appeal (British Columbia)
Case DateAugust 13, 2007
JurisdictionBritish Columbia
Citations(2007), 249 B.C.A.C. 177 (CA);2007 BCCA 617

Blake v. Wells Estate (2007), 249 B.C.A.C. 177 (CA);

    414 W.A.C. 177

MLB headnote and full text

Temp. Cite: [2007] B.C.A.C. TBEd. DE.038

Patricia Ann Blake also known as Patricia Ann Wells (respondent/plaintiff/appellant by cross-appeal) v. Doreen Isabel Ross and Roger Donald Ross as Executors of the Estate of Isabel Wells (appellants/defendants/respondents on cross-appeal)

(CA034137; 2007 BCCA 617)

Indexed As: Blake v. Wells Estate

British Columbia Court of Appeal

Finch, C.J.B.C., Ryan and Chiasson, JJ.A.

December 14, 2007.

Summary:

Wells owned property on Vancouver Island known as the "Malahat". The plaintiff was married to Wells' son before he died in 1993 and had lived in a house on the Malahat since 1972. Wells died in 2004. She left one-seventh of the residue of her estate to the plaintiff (approximately $42,800). The plaintiff sued Wells' estate, claiming that as a result of the 30 years' labour and money she put into the Malahat, she had a legitimate expectation and entitlement to an interest in the property.

The British Columbia Supreme Court, in a decision reported at [2006] B.C.T.C. Uned. 391, found that Wells' estate was unjustly enriched by the plaintiff's contribution of labour and money to the Malahat. The court refused to order a constructive trust in favour of the plaintiff and awarded her $250,000 in damages. The executors of Wells' estate appealed. The plaintiff cross-appealed, seeking a proprietary interest in the Malahat or an award of $350,000.

The British Columbia Court of Appeal allowed the appeal to the extent of ordering Wells' estate to pay the plaintiff $125,000 arising out of the unjust enrichment of the estate. The plaintiff's cross-appeal was dismissed.

Restitution - Topic 62

Unjust enrichment - What constitutes - Wells owned property on Vancouver Island known as the "Malahat" - The plaintiff was married to Wells' son before he died in 1993 and had lived in a house on the Malahat since 1972 - Wells died in 2004 - She left one-seventh of the residue of her estate to the plaintiff (approximately $42,800) - The plaintiff sued Wells' estate, claiming that as a result of the 30 years' labour and money she put into the Malahat, she had a legitimate expectation and entitlement to an interest in the property - The trial judge found that Wells' estate was unjustly enriched by the plaintiff's contribution of labour and money to the Malahat and awarded the plaintiff $250,000 in damages - On appeal, the British Columbia Court of Appeal affirmed the finding of unjust enrichment, but reduced the award of damages to the plaintiff to $125,000 - That amount reflected the mutual expectation of Wells and the plaintiff that the plaintiff would be taken care of - The court further stated that its conclusion, that the reasonable expectations of Wells and the plaintiff were not that the plaintiff was to have an interest in the Malahat, but that she was entitled to be taken care of, disposed of the plaintiff's cross-appeal seeking a constructive trust - Even if the court had not reached that conclusion, it would have agreed with the trial judge's decision to award damages rather than a constructive trust - See paragraphs 71 to 80.

Restitution - Topic 63

Unjust enrichment - Requirement of enrichment at plaintiff's expense - Wells owned property on Vancouver Island known as the "Malahat" - The plaintiff was married to Wells' son before he died in 1993 and had lived in a house on the Malahat since 1972 - After Wells died in 2004, the plaintiff sued her estate, claiming that as a result of the 30 years' labour and money she put into the Malahat, she had a legitimate expectation and entitlement to an interest in the property - The trial judge found that Wells' estate was unjustly enriched by the plaintiff's contribution of labour and money to the Malahat and awarded the plaintiff $250,000 in damages - The executors of Wells' estate appealed - The executors argued, inter alia, that the trial judge erred by taking into account the work performed on the Malahat by the plaintiff's former brother-in-law (Ron), which inflated the award to the plaintiff - The executors argued that Ron's efforts were not a detriment to the plaintiff - The British Columbia Court of Appeal held that the executors misconstrued how the trial judge dealt with Ron's efforts - The judge did not rely on Ron's efforts in the analysis of benefit and detriment - He did take them into account when considering the appropriate remedy - He concluded that the plaintiff should get some "credit" for introducing Ron to the Malahat - That was consonant with the approach taken in Bebbington v. Carter (B.C.S.C.) - The trial judge correctly dealt with Ron's contribution - See paragraphs 46 to 49.

Restitution - Topic 63

Unjust enrichment - Requirement of enrichment at plaintiff's expense - Wells owned property on Vancouver Island known as the "Malahat" - The plaintiff was married to Wells' son before he died in 1993 and had lived in a house on the Malahat since 1972 - After Wells died in 2004, the plaintiff sued her estate, claiming that as a result of the 30 years' labour and money she put into the Malahat, she had a legitimate expectation and entitlement to an interest in the property - The trial judge found that Wells' estate was unjustly enriched by the plaintiff's contribution of labour and money to the Malahat and awarded the plaintiff $250,000 in damages - The executors of Wells' estate appealed - The executors argued that the plaintiff lived on the Malahat at a cost far less than she would have incurred elsewhere and that it was not possible to conclude that the financial cost incurred by her outweighed the benefits which accrued to her from her relationship with Wells - The British Columbia Court of Appeal affirmed the finding of unjust enrichment - A flaw in the executors' argument was the fact that the trial judge had found that the detriment to the plaintiff was her dedication to the Malahat in lieu of establishing a home apart from that property - The executors' approach ignored that detriment - See paragraphs 55 to 57.

Restitution - Topic 123

Unjust enrichment - Remedies - Constructive trust - [See Restitution - Topic 62 ].

Restitution - Topic 124

Unjust enrichment - Remedies - Damages - [See Restitution - Topic 62 ].

Trusts - Topic 2310

Constructive trusts - General principles - Circumstances when not imposed - [See Restitution - Topic 62 ].

Cases Noticed:

Pacific National Investments Ltd. v. Victoria (City) et al., [2004] 3 S.C.R. 575; 327 N.R. 100; 206 B.C.A.C. 99; 338 W.A.C. 99; 2004 SCC 75, refd to. [para. 8].

Housen v. Nikolaisen et al., [2002] 2 S.C.R. 235; 286 N.R. 1; 219 Sask.R. 1; 272 W.A.C. 1; 2002 SCC 33, refd to. [para. 31].

H.L. v. Canada (Attorney General) et al., [2005] 1 S.C.R. 401; 333 N.R. 1; 262 Sask.R. 1; 347 W.A.C. 1; 2005 SCC 25, refd to. [para. 32].

Wilcox v. Wilcox Estate et al. (2000), 142 B.C.A.C. 84; 233 W.A.C. 84; 79 B.C.L.R.(3d) 235; 2000 BCCA 491, refd to. [para. 39].

Clarkson v. McCrossen Estate et al. (1995), 57 B.C.A.C. 101; 94 W.A.C. 101; 3 B.C.L.R.(3d) 80 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 39].

Peter v. Beblow, [1993] 1 S.C.R. 980; 150 N.R. 1; 23 B.C.A.C. 81; 39 W.A.C. 81, refd to. [para. 41].

Bebbington v. Carter, [1997] B.C.T.C. Uned. 574; 28 R.F.L.(4th) 305 (S.C.), refd to. [para. 49].

Becker v. Pettkus, [1980] 2 S.C.R. 834; 34 N.R. 384, refd to. [para. 51].

Thomas v. Fenton (2006), 228 B.C.A.C. 82; 376 W.A.C. 82; 57 B.C.L.R.(4th) 204; 269 D.L.R.(4th) 376; 2006 BCCA 299, refd to. [para. 75].

International Corona Resources Ltd. v. LAC Minerals Ltd., [1989] 2 S.C.R. 574; 101 N.R. 239; 36 O.A.C. 57, refd to. [para. 79].

Counsel:

M.J. Hargreaves, for the appellant;

M.R. Mark, for the respondent.

This appeal and cross-appeal were heard on August 13, 2007, at Vancouver, British Columbia, before Finch, C.J.B.C., Ryan and Chiasson, JJ.A., of the British Columbia Court of Appeal. The following judgment of the Court of Appeal was delivered by Chiasson, J.A., on December 14, 2007.

To continue reading

Request your trial
5 practice notes
  • Wilson v. Fotsch, (2010) 286 B.C.A.C. 276 (CA)
    • Canada
    • British Columbia Court of Appeal (British Columbia)
    • 10 Mayo 2010
    ...O.A.C. 81, refd to. [para. 93]. Pegler v. Avio, [2008] B.C.T.C. Uned. 65; 2008 BCSC 128, refd to. [para. 127]. Blake v. Wells Estate (2007), 249 B.C.A.C. 177; 414 W.A.C. 177; 2007 BCCA 617, refd to. [para. Authors and Works Noticed: Birks, Peter B.H., An Introduction to the Law of Restituti......
  • McBride v. Voth et al., [2010] B.C.T.C. Uned. 443 (SC)
    • Canada
    • British Columbia Supreme Court of British Columbia (Canada)
    • 1 Abril 2010
    ...]; Kreeft v. Kreeft , 2001 BCSC 893, 39 E.T.R.(2d) 233 [ Kreeft ]; Proulx v. Daniels , 2001 BCSC 441 [ Proulx ]; Blake v. Wells Estate , 2007 BCCA 617, 288 D.L.R.(4th) 712 [ Blake ]. [154] In Peter , Mr. Justice Cory, writing for the minority's concurring opinion, stated that, once an enric......
  • Antrobus v. Antrobus et al., [2009] B.C.T.C. Uned. 1341
    • Canada
    • British Columbia Supreme Court of British Columbia (Canada)
    • 30 Septiembre 2009
    ...49 E.T.R. (2d) 108, aff'd 2005 SKCA 14, 248 D.L.R. (4th) 626; Urano v. Urano , 2005 ABQB 237, 15 E.T.R. (3d) 138; Blake v. Wells Estate , 2007 BCCA 617, 288 D.L.R. (4th) 712; and Clarkson v. McCrossen (1995), 122 D.L.R. (4th) 239, 3 B.C.L.R. (3d) 80 (C.A.). [198] The fact that work is perfo......
  • Pickard v. Pickard Estate, [2013] B.C.T.C. Uned. 1091 (SC)
    • Canada
    • British Columbia Supreme Court of British Columbia (Canada)
    • 21 Junio 2013
    ...Cory J. in Peter v. Beblow , [1993] 1 S.C.R. 980 at 1012, 101 D.L.R. (4th) 621, referred to by Chiasson J.A. in Blake v. Wells Estate , 2007 BCCA 617 at para. 45, 288 D.L.R. (4th) 712. C. Is there a juristic reason for the enrichment? [56] In Blake v. Ross , 2006 BCSC 799, 25 E.T.R. (3d) 56......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
5 cases
  • Wilson v. Fotsch, (2010) 286 B.C.A.C. 276 (CA)
    • Canada
    • British Columbia Court of Appeal (British Columbia)
    • 10 Mayo 2010
    ...O.A.C. 81, refd to. [para. 93]. Pegler v. Avio, [2008] B.C.T.C. Uned. 65; 2008 BCSC 128, refd to. [para. 127]. Blake v. Wells Estate (2007), 249 B.C.A.C. 177; 414 W.A.C. 177; 2007 BCCA 617, refd to. [para. Authors and Works Noticed: Birks, Peter B.H., An Introduction to the Law of Restituti......
  • McBride v. Voth et al., [2010] B.C.T.C. Uned. 443 (SC)
    • Canada
    • British Columbia Supreme Court of British Columbia (Canada)
    • 1 Abril 2010
    ...]; Kreeft v. Kreeft , 2001 BCSC 893, 39 E.T.R.(2d) 233 [ Kreeft ]; Proulx v. Daniels , 2001 BCSC 441 [ Proulx ]; Blake v. Wells Estate , 2007 BCCA 617, 288 D.L.R.(4th) 712 [ Blake ]. [154] In Peter , Mr. Justice Cory, writing for the minority's concurring opinion, stated that, once an enric......
  • Antrobus v. Antrobus et al., [2009] B.C.T.C. Uned. 1341
    • Canada
    • British Columbia Supreme Court of British Columbia (Canada)
    • 30 Septiembre 2009
    ...49 E.T.R. (2d) 108, aff'd 2005 SKCA 14, 248 D.L.R. (4th) 626; Urano v. Urano , 2005 ABQB 237, 15 E.T.R. (3d) 138; Blake v. Wells Estate , 2007 BCCA 617, 288 D.L.R. (4th) 712; and Clarkson v. McCrossen (1995), 122 D.L.R. (4th) 239, 3 B.C.L.R. (3d) 80 (C.A.). [198] The fact that work is perfo......
  • Pickard v. Pickard Estate, [2013] B.C.T.C. Uned. 1091 (SC)
    • Canada
    • British Columbia Supreme Court of British Columbia (Canada)
    • 21 Junio 2013
    ...Cory J. in Peter v. Beblow , [1993] 1 S.C.R. 980 at 1012, 101 D.L.R. (4th) 621, referred to by Chiasson J.A. in Blake v. Wells Estate , 2007 BCCA 617 at para. 45, 288 D.L.R. (4th) 712. C. Is there a juristic reason for the enrichment? [56] In Blake v. Ross , 2006 BCSC 799, 25 E.T.R. (3d) 56......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT