Damages decreased by Court of Appeal in Kazakoff vs. Taft case

Appeal decreases costs Invermere mayor required to pay

District of Invermere Mayor Gerry Taft’s appeal to a defamation suit judgement resulted in decreased damage amounts he is required to pay to plaintiff Devin Kazakoff.

Mr. Taft and Mr. Kazakoff faced off in a court case following an online comment in regards to deer management. Mr. Kazakoff’s lawyers asked for an apology from Mr. Taft for his remarks then sought legal resolution, in which Mr. Kazakoff asked for $175,000 in general, punitive, and aggravated damages. A Supreme Court of British Columbia judgement, released in May 2017, ordered Mr. Taft to pay $50,000 for general damages and $25,000 for aggravated damages, totalling a fee of $75,000.

In the appeal, released June 18th, 2018, the damages were decreased to $35,000, and each party ordered to bear their own costs for the appeal case.

“I’m disappointed to some degree some of the findings of the trial judge were not reversed by the court of appeal,” Mr. Taft told the Pioneer. “I’m happy that the damage amounts and the award of legal costs has been decreased.”

Mr. Taft said going into the appeal process, it was made clear to him that appeals are an “uphill battle,” and that the appeal court is unlikely to want to change a lot.

“It’s not a retrial; it’s very much just looking at the rules of law, so their scope is quite narrow,” said Mr. Taft.

Mr. Taft says he never thought the lawsuit would lead to this result.

“At the time, the whole thing seemed kind of ridiculous; I never thought it would go this far and I never thought it would get this expensive.”

Mr. Taft requested support from municipal insurance to help cover his legal

fees. He lobbied for the coverage, but the District of Invermere and municipal insurance declined to indemnify him. However, following the initial trial, he did end up receiving some support because of a dispute mechanism process for municipal insurance involving an independent insurance lawyer.

The process was stressful and frustrating, and could be a deterrent for future politicians when they know their personal or business interests could be impacted, says Mr. Taft. All told, he is looking at about $60,000 in legal fees, and could be on the hook for more costs, plus the $35,000 announced in the appeal, which means Mr. Taft is now figuring out how to foot a potential $125,000 bill.

Mr. Kazakoff did not return repeated Pioneer requests for an interview.

Just Posted

Invermere gets new CAO

Invermere found his new CAO after a long period of research.

Radium council discusses short term rentals

RHS council are elaborating the second draft plan for STR

Farmers’ Institute report highlights emerging local food scene

Beef cattle ranching remains mainstay of valley agriculture

Beautification process begins in Canal Flats downtown

Canal Flats wants to improve the esthetic of the town

B.C. reports 91 new cases as officials remain worried over ‘clusters of COVID-19

There have now been a total of 8,395 cases in B.C. since the pandemic began

Canada’s active COVID-19 cases top 10,000 as daily new cases triple over the past month

Dr. Tam repeated her warning to young people, who have made up the majority of recent cases

First 8 months of fatal overdoses in B.C. have now exceeded 2019 death toll

Nine people died every two days in August, BC Coroners Service data shows

Liberal effort to reset policy agenda panned by rivals as too much talk, not action

Trudeau said it’s ‘all too likely’ families won’t be able to gather for Thanksgiving next month

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Totem pole considered cultural appropriation removed from Nelson’s Hume School

The pole had also become rotted and was seen as dangerous to students

‘Show us the money’ for cannabis, local governments tell B.C.

Municipal tax, transit revenues falling as costs rise

‘It’s a boy’: Southern Resident killer whale calf born to J Pod is healthy, researchers say

J35 had previously done a ‘Tour of Grief,’ carrying her dead calf for 17 days

Most Read