B.C.’s highest court has turfed an appeal of a $103,000 award handed to a B.C. man seriously injured in a recreational soccer game.
In March 2023, the B.C. Supreme Court ruled that Karl Cox was liable for a slide tackle in a May 2018 game in North Vancouver that left David Miller with a grade-three shoulder dislocation.
The judge found that while the tackle was legal under game rules, Cox was negligent in his execution of the move.
Cox appealed to the B.C. Court of Appeal, arguing that trial judge Justice Wendy Baker erred in her assessment of the relevant standard of care, and that her reasons for judgment reflected “palpable and overriding error.”
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The appellate court’s three-judge panel disagreed, ruling that the trial judge “did not resolve this case on a finding of carelessness in the context of a permitted defensive play.”
“On her findings, the appellant committed a serious foul under the rules of play that would have warranted disqualification from the match,” Justice Gregory Fitch wrote in the court’s ruling.
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“The trial judge committed no palpable and overriding error in her factual findings, which support her ultimate conclusion that the appellant’s actions were dangerous and reckless, and outside the sort of conduct a player would reasonably expect in a recreational league consisting of players with a wide range of skill levels.”
The court ruled that while slide tackles were permitted in the league, the trial judge and the referee in the game both correctly concluded that the tackle as executed amounted to an infraction of the rules.
It was open to the trial judge, the court found, to conclude the tackle was “dangerous and reckless,” and that Cox had failed to prove an error in her reasons for judgment.
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