Whiten v. Pilot Ins., (1999) 117 O.A.C. 201 (CA)

JudgeFinlayson, Catzman and Laskin, JJ.A.
CourtCourt of Appeal (Ontario)
Case DateFebruary 05, 1999
JurisdictionOntario
Citations(1999), 117 O.A.C. 201 (CA);1999 CanLII 3051 (ON CA);1999 CanLII 3051 (NS CA);42 OR (3d) 641;170 DLR (4th) 280;[1999] OJ No 237 (QL);117 OAC 201;[1999] ILR 1;32 CPC (4th) 3

Whiten v. Pilot Ins. (1999), 117 O.A.C. 201 (CA)

MLB headnote and full text

Temp. Cite: [1999] O.A.C. TBEd. MR.030

Daphne Whiten (plaintiff/respondent) v. Pilot Insurance Company and Derek Francis (defendants/appellant)

(C23973)

Indexed As: Whiten v. Pilot Insurance Co. et al.

Ontario Court of Appeal

Finlayson, Catzman and

Laskin, JJ.A.

February 5, 1999.

Summary:

Whiten's home was destroyed by fire. She claimed insurance proceeds under a home­owner's policy issued by Pilot Insurance Co. Pilot refused to pay, claiming that the fire was caused by arson. Whiten sued Pilot. A jury assessed dam­ages of $287,300 for fire loss and $1,000,000 puni­tive dam­ages. Pilot appealed the award of punitive damages.

The Ontario Court of Appeal, Laskin, J.A., dissenting in part, allowed the appeal and reduced the quantum of punitive damages to $100,000.

Damage Awards - Topic 2021.2

Exemplary or punitive damages - Insurers -Whiten's home was destroyed by fire - She claimed insurance proceeds under a home­owner's policy issued by Pilot Insur­ance Co. - Notwithstanding the recom­men­da-tions of its own adjuster and experts, Pilot refused to pay, claiming that the fire was caused by arson - Whiten sued Pilot, but Pilot maintained its stance for over two years and throughout a four week trial - In the end, a jury assessed damages of $287,300 for fire loss and $1,000,000 punitive damages - Pilot appealed the award of punitive damages - The Ontario Court of Appeal held that Whiten was entitled to punitive damages where the insurer breached its duty to act in good faith and the insurer's conduct was repre­hensible - The court, however, reduced the amount of punitive damages to $100,000.

Damage Awards - Topic 2030.6

Exemplary or punitive damages - Breach of duty of good faith - [See Damage Awards - Topic 2021.2 ].

Damages - Topic 1305.1

Exemplary or punitive damages - Insur­ance claim denial - [See Damage Awards - Topic 2021.2 ].

Evidence - Topic 2725

Special modes of proof - Polygraph - Admissibility (incl. offer to take) - An insurer denied a claim under a homeown­er's policy, claiming arson - At trial, the judge instructed the jury that they could consider the insureds' offer to take a polygraph test as evidence of their good faith - The insurer alleged that the judge erred, arguing that just as evidence of a polygraph test is generally inadmissible, evidence of an offer to take the test was also inadmissible - The Ontario Court of Appeal rejected the insurer's argument - See paragraphs 33, 34.

Cases Noticed:

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. [paras. 21, 59, footnote 1].

Vorvis v. Insurance Corp. of British Col­umbia, [1989] 1 S.C.R. 1085; 94 N.R. 321; 58 D.L.R.(4th) 193, refd to. [paras. 23, 68, footnote 2].

Wallace v. United Grain Growers Ltd. (1997), 219 N.R. 161; 123 Man.R.(2d) 1; 159 W.A.C. 1; 152 D.L.R.(4th) 1, refd to. [para. 24, footnote 24].

Maschke v. Gleeson and State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. (1986), 16 O.A.C. 227; 54 O.R.(2d) 753 (Div. Ct.), refd to. [para. 25, footnote 6].

Plaza Fiberglass Manufacturing Ltd. v. Cardinal Insurance Co. (1994), 72 O.A.C. 66; 115 D.L.R.(4th) 37 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 25, footnote 7].

Ferguson v. National Life Assurance Co. of Canada (1996), 1 O.T.C. 81; 36 C.C.L.I.(2d) 95 (Gen. Div.) affd. (1997), 102 O.A.C. 239 (C.A.), refd to. [paras. 26, 55, footnote 8].

Adams v. Confederation Life Insurance Co. (1994), 152 A.R. 121; 25 C.C.L.I.(2d) 180 (Q.B.), refd to. [paras. 26, 54, footnote 8].

Atlantic Steel Industries Inc. v. CIGNA Insurance Co. of Canada (1997), 31 O.T.C. 184; 33 O.R.(3d) 12 (Gen. Div.), refd to. [para. 26, footnote 8].

Janmohamed v. Co-operators General Insurance Co., [1997] A.R. Uned. 188; 45 C.C.L.I.(2d) 262 (Q.B.), refd to. [para. 26, footnote 8].

Crisci v. Security Insurance Co. (1967), 66 Cal.2d 425 (S.C.), refd to. [para. 27, footnote 10].

Silberg v. California Life Insurance Co. (1974), 11 Cal.3d 452 (S.C.), refd to. [para. 27, footnote 10].

Gruenberg v. Aetna Insurance Co. (1973), 9 Cal.3d 566 (S.C.), refd to. [para. 27, footnote 10].

Egan v. Mutual of Omaha Insurance Co. (1979), 24 Cal.3d, refd to. [para. 27, footnote 10].

Gibson v. Parkes District Hospital and Another (1991), 26 N.S.W.L.R. 9 (App. C.L.), refd to. [para. 27, footnote 10]

Dorrough v. Bank of Melbourne Ltd. (1995), No. Q.G. 196 of 1993 (Fed. Crt. Gen. Div.), refd to. [para. 27, footnote 10].

Central Trust Co. v. Ra­fuse and Cor­don, [1986] 2 S.C.R. 147; 69 N.R. 321; 75 N.S.R.(2d) 109; 186 A.P.R. 109, refd to. [para. 27, footnote 12].

R. v. S.C.B. (1997), 104 O.A.C. 81; 36 O.R.(3d) 516 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 34, footnote 14].

Labelle v. Guardian Insurance Co. of Canada (1989), 38 C.C.L.I. 274 (Ont. H.C.), refd to. [paras. 39, 52, footnote 15].

Kusalic c. Zurich Cie d'assurances (1995), 37 C.C.C. 1(2d) 120 (Que. S.C.), refd to. [para. 39, footnote 15].

Ribeiro v. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (1992), 13 O.R.(3d) 278 (C.A.), refd to. [paras. 39, 58, footnote 16].

Francis v. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (1994), 72 O.A.C. 216; 21 O.R.(3d) 75 (C.A.), refd to. [paras. 39, 58, footnote 16].

Hill v. Church of Scientology of Toronto and Manning, (1994), 71 O.A.C. 161; 18 O.R.(3d) 385 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 40, footnote 17].

BMW of North America Inc. v. Gore (1996), 116 S.Ct. 1589 (U.S.S.C.), refd to. [para. 43, footnote 19].

Lubrizol Corp. et al. v. Imperial Oil Ltd. et al. (1994), 84 F.T.R. 197 (T.D.), revsd. (1996), 197 N.R. 241 (F.C.A.), refd to. [paras. 46, 59, footnote 21].

Claiborne Industries Ltd. v. National Bank of Canada (1989), 34 O.A.C. 241; 69 O.R.(2d) 65 (C.A.), refd to. [paras. 46, 59, footnote 21].

Ribeiro v. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (1989), 67 O.R.(2d) 385 (H.C.), refd to. [para. 58].

Colborne Capital Corporation v. 542775 Alberta Ltd. (1995), 171 A.R. 241; 30 Alta. L.R.(3d) 127 (Q.B.), revsd. (1999), 228 A.R. 201; 188 W.A.C. 201 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 59].

Walker and Walker Brothers Quarries Ltd. v. CFTO et al. (1987), 19 O.A.C. 10; 59 O.R.(2d) 104 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 65].

Pacific Life Insurance Co. v. Haslip (1990), 499 U.S. 1, refd to. [para. 67].

Authors and Works Noticed:

Brown, The Law of Defamation in Canada (2nd Ed.), pp. 25 to 244 [para. 47, foot­note 22].

Fleming, The Law of Torts (9th Ed. 1998), p. 274 [para. 47, footnote 24].

Grant, S.M., and Rothstein, L.R., Lawyers' Professional Liability (2nd. Ed. 1988), pp. 225 to 228 [para. 25, footnote 7].

Ontario, Law Reform Commission, Report on Exemplary Damages (1991), pp. 97 to 99 [para. 26, footnote 9].

Counsel:

Earl A. Cherniak, Q.C., and Kirk F. Stevens, for the appellant;

Gary R. Will and Anil Varma, for the respondent.

This appeal was heard on December 17 and 18, 1998, before Finlayson, Catzman and Laskin, JJ.A., of the Ontario Court of Appeal. The decision of the court was released on February 5, 1999, including the following opinions:

Laskin, J.A., dissenting in part - see paragraphs 1 to 49;

Finlayson, J.A. (Catzman, J.A., concur­ring) - see paragraphs 50 to 69.

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122 practice notes
  • Whiten v. Pilot Insurance Co. et al., 2002 SCC 18
    • Canada
    • Canada (Federal) Supreme Court (Canada)
    • December 14, 2000
    ...Pilot appealed the award of punitive damages. The Ontario Court of Appeal, Laskin, J.A., dissenting in part, in a decision reported 117 O.A.C. 201, allowed the appeal and reduced the quantum of punitive damages to $100,000. Whiten appealed and Pilot The Supreme Court of Canada, LeBel, J., d......
  • Whiten v. Pilot Insurance Co. et al., (2002) 156 O.A.C. 201 (SCC)
    • Canada
    • Canada (Federal) Supreme Court (Canada)
    • December 14, 2000
    ...Pilot appealed the award of punitive damages. The Ontario Court of Appeal, Laskin, J.A., dissenting in part, in a decision reported 117 O.A.C. 201, allowed the appeal and reduced the quantum of punitive damages to $100,000. Whiten appealed and Pilot The Supreme Court of Canada, LeBel, J., d......
  • Table of cases
    • Canada
    • Irwin Books The Law of Evidence. Eighth Edition
    • June 25, 2020
    ...2682 ................................................. 296 Whiten v Pilot Insurance Co (1996), 132 DLR (4th) 568 (Ont Gen Div), rev’d (1999), 42 OR (3d) 641 (CA), rev’d [2002] 1 SCR 595 ........................657 Wolfin v Shaw (1998), 43 BCLR (3d) 190 (SC) .......................................
  • Shelanu Inc. v. Print Three Franchising, (2003) 172 O.A.C. 78 (CA)
    • Canada
    • Ontario Court of Appeal (Ontario)
    • August 26, 2002
    ...leave to appeal dismissed (2000), 264 N.R. 400; 145 O.A.C. 400 (S.C.C.), refd to. [para. 74]. Whiten v. Pilot Insurance Co. et al. (1999), 117 O.A.C. 201; 170 D.L.R.(4th) 280 (C.A.), revd. [2002] 1 S.C.R. 595; 283 N.R. 1; 156 O.A.C. 201, refd to. [para. Greenberg v. Montreal Trust Co., Meff......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
112 cases
  • Whiten v. Pilot Insurance Co. et al., (2002) 156 O.A.C. 201 (SCC)
    • Canada
    • Canada (Federal) Supreme Court (Canada)
    • December 14, 2000
    ...Pilot appealed the award of punitive damages. The Ontario Court of Appeal, Laskin, J.A., dissenting in part, in a decision reported 117 O.A.C. 201, allowed the appeal and reduced the quantum of punitive damages to $100,000. Whiten appealed and Pilot The Supreme Court of Canada, LeBel, J., d......
  • Whiten v. Pilot Insurance Co. et al., 2002 SCC 18
    • Canada
    • Canada (Federal) Supreme Court (Canada)
    • December 14, 2000
    ...Pilot appealed the award of punitive damages. The Ontario Court of Appeal, Laskin, J.A., dissenting in part, in a decision reported 117 O.A.C. 201, allowed the appeal and reduced the quantum of punitive damages to $100,000. Whiten appealed and Pilot The Supreme Court of Canada, LeBel, J., d......
  • Shelanu Inc. v. Print Three Franchising, (2003) 172 O.A.C. 78 (CA)
    • Canada
    • Ontario Court of Appeal (Ontario)
    • August 26, 2002
    ...leave to appeal dismissed (2000), 264 N.R. 400; 145 O.A.C. 400 (S.C.C.), refd to. [para. 74]. Whiten v. Pilot Insurance Co. et al. (1999), 117 O.A.C. 201; 170 D.L.R.(4th) 280 (C.A.), revd. [2002] 1 S.C.R. 595; 283 N.R. 1; 156 O.A.C. 201, refd to. [para. Greenberg v. Montreal Trust Co., Meff......
  • Grafton Connor Group of Properties v. Murphy et al., 2015 NSSC 195
    • Canada
    • Nova Scotia Supreme Court of Nova Scotia (Canada)
    • October 30, 2014
    ...in every insurance contract that the insurer will deal with claims from its insured in good faith: Whiten v. Pilot Insurance Co. (1999), 42 O.R. (3d) 641 (Ont. C.A.). The duty of good faith requires an insurer to act both promptly and fairly when investigating, assessing and attempting to r......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 firm's commentaries
2 books & journal articles
  • Table of cases
    • Canada
    • Irwin Books The Law of Evidence. Eighth Edition
    • June 25, 2020
    ...2682 ................................................. 296 Whiten v Pilot Insurance Co (1996), 132 DLR (4th) 568 (Ont Gen Div), rev’d (1999), 42 OR (3d) 641 (CA), rev’d [2002] 1 SCR 595 ........................657 Wolfin v Shaw (1998), 43 BCLR (3d) 190 (SC) .......................................
  • Secondary Materiality and Your Own Witness
    • Canada
    • Irwin Books The Law of Evidence. Eighth Edition
    • June 25, 2020
    ...RRO 1990, Reg 194, r 53.07. 148 Whiten v Pilot Insurance Co (1996), 132 DLR (4th) 568 (Ont Gen Div), appeal allowed on other grounds (1999), 42 OR (3d) 641 (CA), appeal allowed and trial judgment reinstated, [2002] 1 SCR 595. 149 For illustrations of the factors to be considered, see the di......

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