This claim for emotional distress (Signorello v. Khan)began when the claimant drove his Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG Convertible, worth $210,094.36, to Vancouver Airport to leave on a business trip.  As the court stated, “the car was in pristine condition with 21,000 km on the odometer when he turned it over to Gateway Valet Service, operated by…Imperial Parking Canada Corporation.  Shortly thereafter, while being driven by the valet parker, the defendant Khan, the vehicle was damaged.  Repairs took more than two months and cost $26,000.00, enough to cause many vehicles to be written off.  Not this one…The Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG is the stuff of a young man’s fantasy, and an older man’s crisis.  It is a limited-production roadster.  Each one is hand-signed.  It is powered by a twin-turbocharged 600 horsepower, 6 litre, 36 valve V-12 engine, capable of moving from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.2 seconds.  In 2005, it was the fastest production motor car in the world.  Few are produced, and very few find their way to Canada.  They are manufactured and finished to an extremely high quality.  They are expensive, and appropriately described as ‘exotic high-performance luxury sports cars’.”
The claimant says he was greatly inconvenienced by the accident, shocked, angry and upset for months,  his trust in the valet parking has been eroded, and the accident was embarrassing.  Well,  I would not trust a $200,000 car to an airport valet and would probably have splurged on a cab. In clearly rejecting this claim for emotional distress Judge Grauer stated,

“… the law has long recognized that no damages may be awarded for mere upset, mental distress, anguish or other mental states that fall short of injury.  Compensable injury in such cases must be serious and prolonged, and rise above the ordinary annoyances, anxieties, fears and upsets that people living in modern society routinely, if reluctantly, accept:  see Mustapha v. Culligan of Canada Inc., 2008 SCC 27, [2008] 2 S.C.R 114 and Beaulieu v. Sutherland(1986), 35 C.C.L.T. 237 (B.C.S.C.).  In my view, pure property damage to a motor vehicle, involving no bodily injury of any kind, is, perhaps unfortunately, an ordinary annoyance in modern society.  It follows that in the absence of evidence of actual psychological injury attributable to the defendants’ breach, the kind of complaint put forward by Mr. Signorello is not compensable in law.  I therefore award no damages under this heading.”

The claimant did receive  an award for a few items for his vehicle as follows:

For accelerated depreciation $16,000.00
For loss of use and inconvenience 3,000.00
For out of pocket expenses 1,607.61
TOTAL $20,607.61

Posted by Mr. Renn A. Holness
Issue: Should you get money for emotional distress if a valet damages your vehicle?


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