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Damages - Assessment of damages - Difficulty in assessment

Thursday, January 19, 2017 @ 7:00 PM  

Appeal by Aujla from the $165,254 judgment granted to 581257 against her. Aujla was found to have stolen this amount from the company, which operated a liquor store, during the course of her employment between 2001 and 2008. Because the company was unable to fully account for its losses, and because Aujla and her husband admitted they used stolen funds for personal expenses that could not be traced, the Court determined damages by calculating the average amount Aujla admittedly stole per shift and multiplied it by the number of shifts she worked for the company, starting one month after her employment commenced. In calculating damages, the Court relied on the respondent’s expert evidence from Prasad, a Certified General Accountant, about what excessive amounts deposited into Aujla’s bank accounts meant in terms of what she stole.

HELD: Appeal dismissed. The Court was entitled to shift the burden of proof to Aujla to disprove damages for the amounts stolen, as it was because of her misconduct that the company was unable to account for its losses. The evidence that Aujla, her husband and son provided fell short of disproving the amount claimed through the formula chosen by the Court. The Court committed no palpable or overriding error in determining that Aujla started stealing after she started working for the company in the store alone, and that she continued stealing during each shift she worked until she was dismissed. The Court was entitled to rely on Prasad’s expert evidence in determining losses based on reviewing Aujla’s bank accounts. Prasad was not a biased witness.