Punch in the Gut
How a Plaintiff’s Claim of Assault / Battery Became a $225,000 Bill
On April 15, 2019, a Newmarket trial judge confirmed a jury’s decision after a 14-day trial, involving a single punch.
In Pullano v. Hinder and Magna International, 2019 ONSC 2362, the plaintiff sued the defendant for punching him, allegedly resulting in an infection to the site of the plaintiff’s implantable cardiac device. Additionally, there were allegations against two corporations for conspiring to cover up the assault.
The jury ruled that while the plaintiff’s punch “hit the mark”, it caused no physical, emotional, or psychological injuries. They didn’t award the plaintiff a dime. There was also no conspiracy.
To make matters worse, the defendant counterclaimed for defamation. The jury found that there were 31 instances of defamation. The jury awarded the defendant $50,000 as a result.
In awarding the defendants legal costs of $174,509.63, the trial judge labelled the trial “frivolous and a waste of the court’s time.” He chastised the plaintiff, noting that as a businessman, former politician, and a sophisticated person, he should have known that he was inviting a contentious, lengthy and expensive trial and would be hit (no pun intended) with a significant costs award.
The Lesson: Those considering suing for personal injuries should be wary of proceeding unless there is evidence or information to corroborate physical, psychological, or emotional injuries.
In this case, the only punch that landed was the jury and trial judge’s firm uppercut to the plaintiff.
To review the full decision, click HERE: