Unruly courtroom behaviour doesn't stop Kamloops man from netting $144K in damages | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Unruly courtroom behaviour doesn't stop Kamloops man from netting $144K in damages

December 11, 2020 - 7:00 AM

A 51-year-old Kamloops man, and former drug dealer who lives on social assistance and hasn't worked in 20 years, is now $144,000 better off since a B.C. Supreme Court judge awarded him damages 14 years after he was hit by a truck while riding his bicycle.

While an impressive sum of money, Sean Samuel Rainey may well have received more cash, had his disdain for authority and refusal to get a lawyer not gotten the better of him.

In the Dec. 4 decision, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Dev Dley says Rainey had ignored repeated suggestions as to how he might improve his entitlement to damages and had been "verbally abusive, unnecessarily argumentative and dismissive" throughout the court process.

The amount is also a fraction of the absurdly high $20-million figure Rainey had originally argued for. 

In a case that appears to have tested the judge's patience, Rainey refused to get a lawyer or provide the court with up-to-date evidence of the cost of his future care or loss of income. He also accused the defendant's lawyers of lying, slander and enjoying a "perverse pleasure" from their alleged misconduct. Rainey also argued their conduct was criminal and required a police investigation.

Justice Dley didn't see it that way and thanked the defendant's lawyer David Bilkey for the "enormous patience, courtesy and restraint" he had shown throughout the trial.

"Mr. Rainey takes great delight and pride in challenging authority," Justice Dley said in the decision.

However, Justice Dley says Rainey's "recalcitrance" and "unruly behaviour" does not prevent the court from assessing and awarding him damages.

According to the decision, Rainey sustained significant injuries after being hit by a truck while cycling in Kamloops in 2006. The defendants were found liable for the collision in a court case in 2019.

The decision gives a breakdown of Rainey's life, showing that he had had a variety of jobs over the years but never stayed longer than a year or two. He also spent two years in jail for drug-related charges and assault in the mid-1990s and has lived on social assistance since 1999.

Much of the court decision is given to weighing Rainey's medical conditions caused by the accident with his pre-collision medical conditions. The issue is further complicated by his reluctance to provide updated medical reports.

"More evidence would have been preferable, but there comes a point in any trial when the matter must come to a conclusion based on the state of the evidence as presented," the justice said.

According to the decision, Rainey argued since the collision his behaviour has changed and he'd lost friends because of it. He also said he could no longer ride his bicycle or sit in the back of a car. His doctor had advised him to seek psychological treatment but he had refused to do so.

Rainey submitted no expert opinion or evidence to back up his claims, although the justice says his aversion to riding his bicycle is understandable.

"In spite of a paucity of evidence, I am satisfied that Mr. Rainey has suffered some long-term psychological damage from the collision that he must be compensated for," the justice said.

After lengthy deliberations surrounding his medical history, he was awarded $110,000 for pain and suffering and loss of the amenities of life.

Rainey was less successful in his claims for loss of past and future income.

In the decision, Rainey claims he just about to start a job as a farmhand that paid $50,000 a year, along with cigarettes worth $600 per month and food and transportation, plus bonuses. The job would be paid in cash and there was no written contract.

"If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is," Justice Dley said dismissing the claim.

The decision says Rainey had told the court he'd remained on social assistance and passed up employment because he did not want that used against him in the litigation.

This statement didn't work in his favour.

"Mr. Rainey has chosen to take himself out of the workforce. He cannot vacate the income-earning marketplace and expect to be compensated," Justice Dley said.

Rainey also talked himself out of any award for costs for therapies, counselling and consultants after he told the judge he wouldn't use such services.

Although an occupational therapist had submitted a report recommending the therapies Rainey objected to the report saying he thought it was "bias" and that the occupational therapist had "an attitude."

"Rainey has made it clear that he does not intend to incur most of those costs... as a result, he is not entitled to an award," the justice said.

Ultimately, Rainey was awarded $144,500.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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