City of Surrey was sued for nearly $900K for icy street crash

Plaintiff has won another round in court against city hall

A woman injured in a traffic crash who was awarded nearly $900,000 in damages after suing the City of Surrey for negligence for failing to remove snow and ice from a city road in December 2009 has just won another round in court against city hall.

Michelle Rhodes’ vehicle slid sideways off a road, towards gasoline pumps at a service station and bumped a concrete platform on which the pumps were mounted.

“Surrey defended by stating it did not have an absolute obligation to keep all roadways free and clear of icy conditions, but was obliged to and did take proactive maintenance steps to apply brine to the road surface in the area of the accident,” Justice Robert Jenkins noted in his Sept. 8 reasons for judgment. But the court heard there was a snowfall two days before the crash, after the brine was applied.

READ ALSO: Court awards woman $143K for two Whalley rear-ender crashes, one by a bus

Following a trial in November 2015 a jury awarded Rhodes $3,576,000 but found her “contributorily” negligent, reducing that figure to $223,537. In 2018 the Court of Appeal reversed the jury’s verdict concerning the plaintiff’s failure to mitigate her damages and reset her award at $894,150, which the city paid on Nov. 16, 2018.

The City of Surrey’s calculations totaled $7,614.90 in pre-judgment interest and $22,067.28 in post-judgment interest for a total of $29,682.18.

But Jenkins, in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster, set Rhodes’ pre-judgment interest – payable from the date of the crash to the date of the jury award – at $6,397.99; her post-judgment interest from the date of the jury award until Nov. 16, 2018 at $56,134; her compensation for management fees at $200,000, and also found her entitled to 50 per cent of her taxable costs and disbursements.



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

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