Jensen v. Stemmer et al., (2007) 214 Man.R.(2d) 64 (CA)

JudgeHuband, Monnin and Hamilton, JJ.A.
CourtCourt of Appeal (Manitoba)
Case DateDecember 15, 2006
JurisdictionManitoba
Citations(2007), 214 Man.R.(2d) 64 (CA);2007 MBCA 42

Jensen v. Stemmer (2007), 214 Man.R.(2d) 64 (CA);

      395 W.A.C. 64

MLB headnote and full text

Temp. Cite: [2007] Man.R.(2d) TBEd. AP.040

Angele Nicole Jensen (plaintiff/respondent) v. Chief Jack Ewatski, Cst. B. Gillespie and Cst. R. Kanaski (defendants/appellants) and Gordon Alfred Stemmer (defendant)

(AI 06-30-06337; 2007 MBCA 42)

Indexed As: Jensen v. Stemmer et al.

Manitoba Court of Appeal

Huband, Monnin and Hamilton, JJ.A.

April 25, 2007.

Summary:

Two officers from the Winnipeg Police Force responded to a domestic disturbance complaint. The plaintiff was taken to police headquarters, charged with uttering a death threat and released. The entire proceeding took less than two hours. The plaintiff sued the Chief of the Winnipeg Police Force and two police officers for damages for false imprisonment. A jury found the chief and the two police officers liable for $8,800 damages for false imprisonment and awarded $25,000 in punitive damages because the arrest was carried out pursuant to a deliberately unlawful policy of the Winnipeg Police Service. The Chief of Police and the two officers appealed.

The Manitoba Court of Appeal allowed the appeal in part. The court held that this was not an appropriate case for punitive damages, but otherwise refused to disturb the jury's findings.

Damages - Topic 1303

Exemplary or punitive damages - False or unlawful imprisonment or false arrest - Two officers from the Winnipeg Police Force responded to a domestic disturbance complaint - The plaintiff was taken to police headquarters, charged with uttering a death threat and released - The entire proceeding took less than two hours - The plaintiff sued the Chief of the Winnipeg Police Force and two police officers for damages for false imprisonment - A jury found the chief and the two police officers liable for false imprisonment and awarded $25,000 in punitive damages because the arrest was carried out pursuant to a deliberately unlawful policy of the Winnipeg Police Service (i.e., a General Order allegedly imposing a "zero tolerance" policy in dealing with domestic disputes) - The Chief of Police and the two officers appealed - The Manitoba Court of Appeal set aside the award of punitive damages - The usual elements that would support an award of punitive damages were missing - There were no grounds to punish the officers by the imposition of punitive damages based upon their conduct - Nor was the General Order a foundation for punitive damages - See paragraphs 30 to 135.

Police - Topic 5041

Actions against police - For false arrest - General - Two officers from the Winnipeg Police Force responded to a domestic disturbance complaint - The plaintiff was taken to police headquarters, charged with uttering a death threat and released - The entire proceeding took less than two hours - The plaintiff sued the Chief of the Winnipeg Police Force and two police officers for damages for false imprisonment - A jury found the chief and the two police officers liable for $8,800 damages for false imprisonment - The Chief of Police and the two officers appealed - The Manitoba Court of Appeal refused to disturb the jury's findings - The jury was perfectly entitled to conclude that the officers had no genuine belief, on reasonable grounds, that the plaintiff had uttered a meaningful threat - Yet, it was equally understandable that the jury was of the view that the officers were attempting to prevent an escalation of a domestic quarrel into something more serious - The court stated, however, that the procedure followed, arresting and charging the plaintiff with uttering threats and conveying her to the police station, was totally inappropriate under the circumstances - See paragraphs 1 to 29.

Police - Topic 5041

Actions against police - For false arrest - General - [See Damages - Topic 1303 ].

Police - Topic 6626

Police commission and R.C.M.P. Commissioner - Duties and powers - Directives and standing orders - [See Damages - Topic 1303 ].

Cases Noticed:

Whiten v. Pilot Insurance Co. et al., [2002] 1 S.C.R. 595; 283 N.R. 1; 156 O.A.C. 201; 2002 SCC 18, refd to. [paras. 36, 105].

R. v. Beaudry (A.) (2007), 356 N.R. 323; 2007 SCC 5, affing. [2005] R.J.Q. 2536; 2005 QCCA 966, refd to. [paras. 56, 120, 121].

Frazier v. Purdy (1991), 6 O.R.(3d) 429 (Gen. Div.), refd to. [para. 65].

R. v. Stillman (W.W.D.), [1997] 1 S.C.R. 607; 209 N.R. 81; 185 N.B.R.(2d) 1; 472 A.P.R. 1, refd to. [para. 82].

Dubé v. Labar, [1986] 1 S.C.R. 649; 68 N.R. 91; 1 Y.R. 81, refd to. [para. 85].

Bains v. Grewal et al. (2006), 224 B.C.A.C. 119; 370 W.A.C. 119; 2006 BCCA 143, refd to. [para. 86].

Dhaliwal v. Robertson (1999), 124 B.C.A.C. 249; 203 W.A.C. 249; 1999 BCCA 309, refd to. [para. 86].

Atherton v. Maurice et al. (1998), 105 B.C.A.C. 198; 171 W.A.C. 198 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 86].

R. v. Dedman, [1985] 2 S.C.R. 2; 60 N.R. 34; 11 O.A.C. 241, refd to. [para. 98].

R. v. Mann (P.H.), [2004] 3 S.C.R. 59; 324 N.R. 215; 187 Man.R.(2d) 1; 330 W.A.C. 1; 2004 SCC 52, refd to. [para. 98].

Brown et al. v. Durham Regional Police Force (1998), 116 O.A.C. 126; 43 O.R.(3d) 223 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 98].

Vorvis v. Insurance Corp. of British Columbia, [1989] 1 S.C.R. 1085; 94 N.R. 321, refd to. [para. 105].

Hill v. Church of Scientology of Toronto and Manning, [1995] 2 S.C.R. 1130; 184 N.R. 1; 84 O.A.C. 1, refd to. [para. 105].

Fidler v. Sun Life Assurance Co. of Canada, [2006] 2 S.C.R. 3; 350 N.R. 40; 227 B.C.A.C. 39; 374 W.A.C. 39; 2006 SCC 30, refd to. [para. 105].

Blackwater et al. v. Plint et al., [2005] 3 S.C.R. 3; 339 N.R. 355; 216 B.C.A.C. 24; 356 W.A.C. 24; 2005 SCC 58, refd to. [para. 123].

Danch v. Nadon et al. (1977), 18 N.R. 568 (F.C.A.), refd to. [para. 124].

Armstrong v. Royal Canadian Mounted Police (Commissioner) et al. (1994), 73 F.T.R. 81; 24 Admin.L.R.(2d) 1 (T.D.), refd to. [para. 124].

Uni-Jet Industrial Pipe Ltd. et al. v. Canada (Attorney General) et al. (2001), 156 Man.R.(2d) 14; 246 W.A.C. 14 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 125].

Authors and Works Noticed:

Klar, Lewis N., Tort Law (3rd Ed. 2003), p. 55 [para. 64].

Counsel:

M.T. O'Neill and M.A. Jack, for the appellants;

R.I. Histed, for the respondent.

This appeal was heard on December 15, 2006, before Huband, Monnin and Hamilton, JJ.A., of the Manitoba Court of Appeal. The judgment of the Court of Appeal was delivered on April 25, 2007, when the following opinions were filed:

Huband, J.A. (Monnin, J.A., concurring) - see paragraphs 1 to 60;

Hamilton, J.A., concurring reasons (Monnin, J.A., concurring) - see paragraphs 61 to 135.

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