Ontario Civil

Bankruptcy and Insolvency

Damages award for battery survived bankruptcy

Defendant punched plaintiff in jaw during recreational hockey game. Plaintiff broke jaw in three places. Defendant was found liable in damages for battery on basis that punch exceeded scope of plaintiff’s consent to application of force. Defendant went bankrupt before satisfying damages award. Plaintiff brought motion for declaration under s. 178(1)(a.1)(i) of Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (Can.) that defendant was not released from obligation to pay damages. Motion judge held that damages award did not survive defendant’s bankruptcy. Plaintiff appealed. Appeal allowed. Fact that punch was intentional did not bring damage award within s. 178(1)(a.1)(i) of Act. Defendant must also have intended for punch to cause bodily harm. Inference that defendant wanted to cause significant bodily harm was inescapable. Defendant pulled off plaintiff’s helmet during recreational hockey game. Force of punch broke plaintiff’s jaw in three places. Punch was delivered in retaliation for high stick by plaintiff that was not deliberate. Fact that there was only one punch did not preclude finding that defendant intended to and did cause bodily harm to plaintiff. Motion judge erred in concluding that there was no intent to inflict bodily harm. Damages, interest and costs awarded survived defendant’s bankruptcy pursuant to s. 178(1)(a.1)(i) of Act.

Leighton v. Best (Mar. 18, 2015, Ont. C.A., P. Lauwers J.A., C.W. Hourigan J.A., and G. Pardu J.A., File No. CA C59426) 251 A.C.W.S. (3d) 385.

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