Tomah et al. v. Sylliboy et al., (2010) 298 N.S.R.(2d) 135 (SC)

JudgeMacLellan, J.
CourtSupreme Court of Nova Scotia (Canada)
Case DateNovember 30, 2010
JurisdictionNova Scotia
Citations(2010), 298 N.S.R.(2d) 135 (SC);2010 NSSC 439

Tomah v. Sylliboy (2010), 298 N.S.R.(2d) 135 (SC);

    945 A.P.R. 135

MLB headnote and full text

Temp. Cite: [2010] N.S.R.(2d) TBEd. DE.013

Robin Tomah and Robin Tomah as Litigation Guardian for minors Aaron Cope, Emily Cope and Tia Googoo (plaintiff) v. Joanne Sylliboy and Vincent Bezanson (defendants)

(195115; 2010 NSSC 439)

Indexed As: Tomah et al. v. Sylliboy et al.

Nova Scotia Supreme Court

MacLellan, J.

November 30, 2010.

Summary:

The defendants attacked the plaintiff outside her house, doused her with gasoline and lit her on fire. The plaintiff suffered severe burns to her face, chest, neck, arms (23% of her body). She sued the defendants for damages. She obtained a default judgment with damages to be assessed.

The Nova Scotia Supreme Court assessed damages at $406,511.84, including general damages of $150,000, aggravated damages of $30,000, past loss of income of $134,832, and diminished earning capacity of $50,000.

Damage Awards - Topic 73.1

Injury and death - Body injuries - Scarring - The defendants attacked the plaintiff outside her house, doused her with gasoline and lit her on fire - The plaintiff suffered severe burns to her face, chest, neck, arms (23% of her body) - She underwent 18 surgeries, including skin grafts - She described the rehabilitation process as extremely painful - She suffered from post traumatic stress disorder, including symptoms of depression, anxiety, and insomnia - These symptoms were described as having a crippling effect on her family and personal relationships and her ability to be employed - She took numerous medications - She had extensive scarring and was embarrassed to be seen in public - She sued the defendants for damages - The Nova Scotia Supreme Court awarded the plaintiff general damages of $150,000 given the major injuries that she had sustained and the medical treatment she had endured - The court awarded aggravated damages of $30,000 - The defendants' attack was sudden, unprovoked and brutal and caused the plaintiff a loss of dignity and humiliation - The court declined to award punitive damages as the defendants' sentence of 12 years' imprisonment for attempted murder was appropriate - The court awarded $50,000 for diminished earning capacity.

Damage Awards - Topic 215

Injury and death - Psychological injuries - Post traumatic stress disorder - [See Damage Awards - Topic 73.1 ].

Damage Awards - Topic 302

Injury and death - Burns - Multiple burns - [See Damage Awards - Topic 73.1 ].

Damage Awards - Topic 305

Injury and death - Burns - Hands - [See Damage Awards - Topic 73.1 ].

Damage Awards - Topic 307

Injury and death - Burns - Arms - [See Damage Awards - Topic 73.1 ].

Damage Awards - Topic 308

Injury and death - Burns - Face and neck - [See Damage Awards - Topic 73.1 ].

Damage Awards - Topic 2011

Exemplary or punitive damages - Assault and battery - [See Damage Awards - Topic 73.1 ].

Damage Awards - Topic 2405

Aggravated damages - Battery - [See Damage Awards - Topic 73.1 ].

Damages - Topic 1322

Exemplary or punitive damages - Bars - Wrongdoer criminally convicted - [See Damage Awards - Topic 73.1 ].

Cases Noticed:

Stoyka v. Dudney, [1996] O.J. No. 5416 (Gen. Div.), refd to. [para. 21].

Cheevers v. Halifax (Regional Municipality) (2005), 234 N.S.R.(2d) 125; 745 A.P.R. 125 (S.C.), refd to. [para. 22].

Anderson v. Miner et al. (1999), 117 B.C.A.C. 39; 191 W.A.C. 39 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 23].

Bueckert v. Mattison et al. (1996), 149 Sask.R. 81 (Q.B.), refd to. [para. 24].

Grewal v. Grewal et al., [2005] B.C.T.C. 143 (S.C.), refd to. [para. 25].

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. 28].

Merrick v. Guilbeault et al. (2009), 276 N.S.R.(2d) 68; 880 A.P.R. 68; 2009 NSSC 60, refd to. [para. 29].

Spencer v. Rozon et al., [2000] B.C.T.C. 290; 2000 BCSC 674, refd to. [para. 29].

Herman v. Graves et al. (1998), 217 A.R. 275; 1998 ABQB 471, refd to. [para. 31].

Stewart v. Button (2009), 343 N.B.R.(2d) 305; 881 A.P.R. 305; 2009 NBQB 45, refd to. [para. 31].

Martin v. Martin et al. (1995), 159 N.B.R.(2d) 81; 409 A.P.R. 81 (T.D.), refd to. [para. 31].

Roose v. Hollett et al. (1995), 143 N.S.R.(2d) 38; 411 A.P.R. 38 (S.C.), revd. in part (1996), 154 N.S.R.(2d) 161; 452 A.P.R. 161 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 32].

McDonald v. Mombourquette et al. (1995), 145 N.S.R.(2d) 360; 418 A.P.R. 360 (S.C.), refd to. [para. 32].

Counsel:

Robert M. Purdy, Q.C., and Ellen Sampson, for the plaintiff;

Joanne Sylliboy and Vincent Bezanson, self-represented.

This damages assessment was heard at Truro, Nova Scotia, on October 21 and 22, 2010, by MacLellan, J., of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court, who delivered the following decision on November 30, 2010.

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3 practice notes
  • Table of cases
    • Canada
    • Irwin Books Remedies: The Law of Damages. Third Edition Limiting Principles
    • June 21, 2014
    ...(3d) 308, [2002] OJ No 70 (SCJ) ................................................................................. 372 Tomah v Sylliboy, 2010 NSSC 439 ...............................................................321, 341 Tombe v Stefulj, [2002] BCJ No 505, 2002 BCSC 154 .........................
  • Punitive Damages
    • Canada
    • Irwin Books Remedies: The Law of Damages. Third Edition Non-compensatory Damages
    • June 21, 2014
    ...[ Vorvis ]. 5 Muir v Alberta (1996), 132 DLR (4th) 695 at 714 (Alta QB), citing Salmond on the Law of Torts . See also Tomah v Sylliboy , 2010 NSSC 439 [ Tomah ], where the defendants confronted the plaintiff, doused her with gasoline, set her on fire, followed her to her bathroom, and prev......
  • Industrial Alliance Insurance and Financial Services Inc. v. Brine, 2015 NSCA 104
    • Canada
    • Nova Scotia Court of Appeal of Nova Scotia (Canada)
    • November 17, 2015
    ...et al., [2005] 3 S.C.R. 3; 339 N.R. 355; 216 B.C.A.C. 24; 356 W.A.C. 24, refd to. [para. 159]. Tomah et al. v. Sylliboy et al. (2010), 298 N.S.R.(2d) 135; 945 A.P.R. 135; 2010 NSSC 439, refd to. [para. Merrick v. Guilbeault et al. (2009), 276 N.S.R.(2d) 68; 880 A.P.R. 68; 2009 NSSC 60, refd......
1 cases
  • Industrial Alliance Insurance and Financial Services Inc. v. Brine, 2015 NSCA 104
    • Canada
    • Nova Scotia Court of Appeal of Nova Scotia (Canada)
    • November 17, 2015
    ...et al., [2005] 3 S.C.R. 3; 339 N.R. 355; 216 B.C.A.C. 24; 356 W.A.C. 24, refd to. [para. 159]. Tomah et al. v. Sylliboy et al. (2010), 298 N.S.R.(2d) 135; 945 A.P.R. 135; 2010 NSSC 439, refd to. [para. Merrick v. Guilbeault et al. (2009), 276 N.S.R.(2d) 68; 880 A.P.R. 68; 2009 NSSC 60, refd......
2 books & journal articles
  • Table of cases
    • Canada
    • Irwin Books Remedies: The Law of Damages. Third Edition Limiting Principles
    • June 21, 2014
    ...(3d) 308, [2002] OJ No 70 (SCJ) ................................................................................. 372 Tomah v Sylliboy, 2010 NSSC 439 ...............................................................321, 341 Tombe v Stefulj, [2002] BCJ No 505, 2002 BCSC 154 .........................
  • Punitive Damages
    • Canada
    • Irwin Books Remedies: The Law of Damages. Third Edition Non-compensatory Damages
    • June 21, 2014
    ...[ Vorvis ]. 5 Muir v Alberta (1996), 132 DLR (4th) 695 at 714 (Alta QB), citing Salmond on the Law of Torts . See also Tomah v Sylliboy , 2010 NSSC 439 [ Tomah ], where the defendants confronted the plaintiff, doused her with gasoline, set her on fire, followed her to her bathroom, and prev......

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