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

Forestry workers set to begin job action in Kootenays

Operations in Castlegar, Cranbrook, Galloway, Elko, Radium, Golden may see job action this week.

Second-story pot shop snuffed out

Invermere marijuana shop must revisit site proposal

Sultans of String swing into town

Show at Pynelogs November 29th

B.C. Legions in need of young members to continue aiding veterans into the future

Lest we forget what thousands of men and women did to fight for Canada’s freedoms – but without new membership, many Legion chapters face dwindling numbers

Nordic club glides into new ski season

Special presentation by Olympian Ingrid Liepa

REPLAY: B.C’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week across the province

Children between 6 and 9 eligible for $1,200 RESP grant from province

BC Ministry of Education is reminding residents to apply before the deadline

Victoria spent $30,000 to remove John A. Macdonald statue

Contentious decision sparked controversy, apology from mayor

Privacy concerns over credit card use for legal online pot purchases

Worries follow privacy breaches at some Canadian cannabis retailers

NEB approves operating pressure increase to repaired Enbridge pipeline

The pipeline burst outside of Prince George on Oct. 9, now operating at 85 per cent

B.C. VIEWS: Setting speed limits in a post-fact political environment

Media prefer ‘speed kills’ narrative, even when it fails to appear

Controversy erupts over Japanese flag in B.C. classroom

Online petition demanding removal has collected more than 5,700 signatures

Death toll rises to 76 in California fire with winds ahead

Nearly 1,300 people remain unaccounted for more than a week after the fire began

Trump says report on Khashoggi death expected in a few days

Jamal Khashoggi was a columnist for The Washington Post who was slain Oct. 2 inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul

Most Read