Ontario Superior Court awards damages in domestic assault case due to defendant's default

The defendant abused his then-wife multiple times before their separation

Ontario Superior Court awards damages in domestic assault case due to defendant's default

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice awarded damages to a plaintiff in a domestic assault case where the defendant's abusive conduct resulted in physical and psychological injuries.

The dispute in Pichie v. Pichie, 2024 ONSC 2868 revolves around the violent and abusive conduct of the defendant, who assaulted his then-wife multiple times before their separation in 2016.

The court found that the defendant had physically, emotionally, verbally, and financially abused the plaintiff, culminating in a severe assault on September 16, 2016. This incident led to the defendant pleading guilty to assault under s. 266 of the Criminal Code. The plaintiff initiated the lawsuit on September 5, 2018, seeking damages for the injuries caused by the defendant’s actions.

Despite being served with the statement of claim, the defendant failed to respond, resulting in a default judgment against him. The court reviewed affidavits from the plaintiff, her family physician, Dr. Nancy Reid, and a law clerk from her solicitors. The evidence showed a history of abuse, including a violent incident in late 2015 where the defendant threw the plaintiff across a room, causing significant physical injuries.

The Superior Court also heard about a particularly brutal incident on September 16, 2016, where the defendant dragged the plaintiff out of the shower and threatened to throw her naked into the street. This assault resulted in lasting psychological trauma and a frozen shoulder, diagnosed by Dr. Mike O’Connor, which continues to impact the plaintiff’s daily life and ability to work.

Due to the defendant's default, he is deemed to admit the truth of the allegations. The court awarded the plaintiff general damages of $75,000 for her physical and psychological suffering, $25,000 in aggravated damages due to the nature of the abuse, and $15,000 for loss of earning capacity. Additionally, the court recognized a subrogated claim under the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) amounting to $3,885.76.

The court also awarded interest on the general damages at a rate of 5 percent per annum from September 16, 2016, resulting in an additional $28,808.22. The plaintiff’s total costs, including fees and disbursements, were calculated at $16,812.50 on a full indemnity basis and $2,180.84 for disbursements. However, costs were ultimately awarded on a partial indemnity scale due to the defendant’s lack of participation in the litigation process.

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