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TRESPASS - To person - Assault - Battery - Defences

Monday, August 12, 2019 @ 10:44 AM  


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Action for damages suffered as a result of the defendants, the plaintiff’s parents and sister, influencing or coercing her to have a therapeutic abortion in 1992 when she was 17. The plaintiff also claimed against her parents and their company for breach of trust and breach of fiduciary duty for improperly dealing with the funds in an RBC account in her name and for failing to provide an accounting for, and discharge of, a mortgage registered by the company against her condominium. The RBC account was opened in 1993 by the plaintiff’s father for her education and was funded by the father’s inheritance. While in Grade 12 and living at home, the plaintiff became pregnant. She testified that she wanted to keep her child but was broken down by the defendants and taken to the clinic to have the abortion without her consent. The plaintiff testified she blanked out most of the event but around 2007 had a gradual awakening to what the defendants had done. The defendants testified that the plaintiff struggled with what to do about the pregnancy, but that the decision to have the abortion was her decision. The action against her parents and the company was not commenced until 2010. In 2000, the plaintiff’s parents purchased a condominium that the sister was selling so the plaintiff could live in it. The plaintiff and her father entered into an agreement transferring the balance from the RBC account to the company to be used, together with funds advanced by the company, to purchase the condominium. The plaintiff signed the transfer forms and a mortgage in favour of the company. The condominium was registered in the plaintiff's name. The plaintiff alleged the father unduly influenced her to grant him authorization to access the RBC account, after which he withdrew the balance of the account without her knowledge or consent.

HELD: Action dismissed. The plaintiff's evidence about the 1992 abortion was not credible and was inconsistent with records and other  documentary evidence from third parties. Although the plaintiff claimed that she was coerced into having the abortion, she conceded that her parents told her it was her decision. Given her strong personality, it was improbable that the plaintiff's parents or sister could have forced or coerced her. The claim involving the RBC account was statute barred. The latest time the cause of action arose was 2000 when the funds in the account were transferred to reduce the amount of the mortgage. There was also no evidence that the father ever withdrew funds from the RBC account, and no evidence of fraud as alleged by the plaintiff.

Hughes v. Hughes, [2019] B.C.J. No. 1267, British Columbia Supreme Court, L.B. Gerow J., July 9, 2019. Digest No. TLD-August12019003