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Kamloops News

Why Jessie Simpson may not see a penny of his $6.9M award

File photo: Jessie Simpson
Image Credit: GOFUNDME / Natasha Teal

A Kamloops man left permanently brain damaged after being beaten into a coma almost five years ago, may never see a penny of a $6.9 million award he won against his attacker.

On Feb. 10, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Dev Dley awarded Jessie Simpson $6.9 million in damages against his attacker, Kristopher Teichrieb.

However, while the sum sounds impressive and highlights the amount of expense involved as Simpson spends the rest of his life in care, it seems highly unlikely that Simpson will see much, if any, of the cash.

"If (Teichrieb)... does not have the money... it will be very difficult," Simon Fraser University associate professor Shafik Bhalloo told iNFOnews.ca. "Effectively it could be a dry judgement, not worth... the paper it's written on unless the defendant has assets anywhere."

And there is no straight forward answer to whether Teichrieb has any assets.

The Jessie Simpson case shocked the community when in the summer of 2016, the then 18-year-old stumbled up Teichrieb's driveway at 4 a.m. after he'd been at a house party celebrating the end of the school year.

Teichrieb brutally attacked the teenager and beat him with a baseball bat after chasing him across the street.

Simpson's injuries were so severe he was left in a coma for six months and will now spend the rest of his life needing 24-hour care.

Teichrieb was originally charged with attempted murder but later pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and in October 2018 was sentenced to seven years in prison.

In February 2018 Simpson's mother, on behalf of her son, filed a civil suit against Teichrieb seeking damages for personal injury and loss.

On Feb. 10 Simpson was awarded $6,935,445 against Teichrieb.

But according to Bhalloo collecting any money at all will be no easy feat.

The SFU associate professor and lawyer said while there are ways, he described them as “arduous."

Bhalloo said Simpson could go after Teichrieb’s house, but even if successful, any outstanding mortgage will be paid to the bank before Simpson got anything.

And while Teichrieb's bank accounts could be frozen, there needs to be money in them for it to mean anything.

Another option is to get a garnishing order from Teichrieb’s employer, if and when, Teichrieb gets a job after he is released from prison.

Bhalloo said the order would see a small percentage of Teichrieb’s wage transferred from his employer directly to Simpson.

However, the lawyer said this is a very laborious process as a garnishing order needs to be presented for each paycheck.

“If the guy's getting a cheque every two weeks you’re serving one garnishing order after another, after another,” he said. “It’s an arduous process.”

And going after the obvious asset that is Teichrieb’s property will also be no easy feat.

Paperwork filed in a separate civil case says the year after Teichrieb was arrested, he was behind on his mortgage payments and had considerable debts. Teichrieb and his partner Mandy Windis then transferred the Clifford Avenue property, with a market value of $587,000 to his parents, Kornelius and Cheryle Teichrieb for $1.

The notice of claim states the transfer was done in an effort to delay and hinder the recovery of damages and make sure Simpson couldn’t get the house. The claim states the transfer was a “fraudulent conveyance.”

In response to the claim, Kornelius and Cheryle Teichrieb don’t deny that the transfer took place but say it was done to stop the foreclosure of the property and was not illegal.

The paperwork says after the transfer took place, Kornelius suffered a debilitating stroke and can no longer work and was forced to refinance. The court documents say there is little to no equity in the property.

The issue of Teichrieb's property is making its way through the courts.

The situation leaves Simpson relying on the government.

In an effort to help victims of crime, funds are available through the province through its Crime Victim Assistance Program.

According to the province, the program can include partial or full reimbursement of various expenses related to medical and dental services, counselling services, and even crime scene cleaning and money for funerals or protective measures for high-risk victims.

According to court documents, the program has paid $432,490 for Simpson's medical treatments, medications, rehabilitation modalities, equipment, and income support.

The province says long-term benefits may be provided to victims of crime who have suffered a catastrophic or permanent injury, or to a surviving spouse or child of a murder victim. The province says monthly payments are tied to the provincial minimum wage, but it’s unclear what Simpson or his mother is eligible for.

Regardless, it appears to be a mere fraction of the $6.9 million awarded by the judge.

While Justice Dley doesn’t address how Simpson is supposed to collect the $6.9 million from the man who destroyed his life, the judge does, somewhat ironically, say because it's a sizeable award Simpson's mother will need money management advice in dealing with the cash.

The case also raises the question that if a person is completely unable to pay why would a judge awarded such an amount?

Bhalloo said judges don’t, and shouldn’t, consider whether or not a person can pay the amount awarded against them.

“The judge looks at what will make this victim whole,” the lawyer said. “The goal… is not so much to punish, but it’s to compensate the individual 100 per cent.”

While the principle makes sense, Simpson’s mother currently cleans houses for a living after she lost her job because she had to care for her son.

While there's no clear and definitive answer, it seems highly likely that Simpson will receive little to nothing of his multi-million dollar award.

Jessie Simpson's lawyer did not return our calls by deadline. Jessie's mother, Sue Simpson, was not immediately available for comment.

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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