Karen L. Weslowski

Partner | Vancouver

604.643.1290

Portrait of Karen L.  Weslowski

Is a partial restriction of business sufficient to trigger the “inability to use” clause in business interruption claims?

Introduction To combat the spread of COVID-19, many governments and public authorities issued orders mandating the closure of, or restrictions upon, businesses.  One common order restricted mass gatherings of people in excess of a certain number, which may not have...

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Case study: Can a client’s breach of contract give rise to a professional regulatory complaint against a design consultant?

Introduction To what extent can, or should, a design consultant be held responsible by their professional regulatory body for their client’s failure to follow the requirements of a contract with the Authority Having Jurisdiction (“AHJ”)?  This interesting question arose in...

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Case commentary: Issuance of building permit for construction of residential/commercial strata “unreasonable” without involvement of architect

Introduction In the recent case of Architectural Institute of British Columbia v. Langford (City), the British Columbia Supreme Court conducted a judicial review of the issuance of a building permit for the construction of a residential/commercial strata complex in the...

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Pennsylvania court decision discusses physical damage aspect of COVID-19

Introduction One of the biggest considerations with respect to whether COVID-19 related losses will be covered by business interruption insurance is whether those losses can be considered “physical loss” or “damage”.  Although unrelated to the interpretation of an insurance policy,...

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The effect of BC Ferries settlement agreements on apportionment of liability and damages at trial

A recent case from the British Columbia Supreme Court dealt with the procedure for apportionment of losses after a BC Ferries Settlement had been reached between some of the defendants. In Conarroe v Tallack, the claim arose out of two...

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Subrogating against government authorities for COVID-19 losses

Introduction The worldwide number of COVID-19 cases is growing daily, with nearly two million currently active cases.[1]  Of those cases, approximately 27,000 are within Canada.[2]  As the pandemic continues worldwide, more claims have and will be made to insurers regarding...

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Causation and concurrent causes of business interruption involving COVID-19

Introduction As the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) continues to impact businesses, insurance companies continue to face business interruption claims.  As most commercial property policies typically insure against “direct physical loss to the property”, an inquiry into causation is required to determine...

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All-risks property insurance: Meaning of physical damage

A recent decision of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (MDS Inc. v. Factory Mutual Insurance Company (FM Global)) suggests that closures due to COVID-19 could trigger coverage under some business interruption policies. As discussed in a previous Communique, there...

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Steps Canadian regulators can (and should) take to minimize the impacts of COVID-19 on insurers

Introduction The Canadian governments, both provincially and federally, have taken many steps to assist different industries survive the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. As of yet, none of these measures have been directly aimed at assisting the...

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All perils policies: Is COVID-19 an insured peril?

As the worldwide pandemic continues to rage on, losses faced by businesses increase without any certainty as to when they might end.  Such expansive loss has raised many questions for insurers facing potential claims for coverage.  One such question is...

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The loss of perishable products: Does this constitute physical damage sufficient to trigger coverage?

One of the many issues arising from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is whether business losses resulting from mandatory and voluntary shut-downs will be covered under business interruption coverage.  Most business interruption policies require direct loss or physical damage to property...

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Proposed National Class Action filed seeking payouts for business interruption insurance

Introduction A Saskatchewan-based restaurant has launched a proposed national class action challenging insurers’ refusal to pay business interruption claims in relation to losses suffered due to COVID-19.[1] The action names Aviva Canada Inc., Co-Operators General Insurance Company, Desjardins Financial Security...

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Coverage under business interruption and general liability policies for Coronavirus related claims

Introduction The Coronavirus pandemic has affected the lives of everyone on Earth in a way that none of us have experienced before. To date there are more than 525,000 cases worldwide, just over 4,000 of which are in Canada.[1] The...

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Case Commentary: Provost v. Dueck Downtown Chevrolet Buick GMC Limited, 2020 BCCA 86

A recent case issued by the British Columbia Court of Appeal provides guidance regarding the duty of care owed by business owners and confirmed the principles with respect to the determination of a novel duty of care. A GM Sierra...

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Validity of builder lien claims

JVD Installations Inc. v. Skookum Creek Power Partnership, 2020 BCSC 374 On March 13, 2020, the Supreme Court of British Columbia released its decision in JVD Installations Inc. v. Skookum Creek Power Partnership, 2020 BCSC 374. This decision discussed and...

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Joint & Several Liability for Engineers

Canadian Consulting Engineer, March/April 2020

Construction litigation involving engineers has become more common, but also more complex. One example of this trend, which can be particularly  problematic, is the rule of joint and several liability. This rule can encourage a ‘shotgun’ approach to litigation, give...

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Negotiating terms beyond standard forms

A recent decision of the British Columbia Supreme Court (Surespan Structures Ltd. v. Lloyds Underwriters, 2020 BCSC 27) confirms that when insurance companies negotiate the terms of a policy beyond their standard forms or precedents, they must beware of failing to...

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Bad faith and punitive damages: Stewart v. Lloyd’s Underwriters

The Lawyer's Daily

In the case of Stewart v. Lloyd’s Underwriters 2019 BCSC 1582, the British Columbia Supreme Court considered a claim for punitive damages arising from the insurer’s alleged breach of the duty of good faith. Read the full article: Bad faith and...

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Bad faith & punitive damages update – case commentary – Stewart v. Lloyd’s Underwriters

Introduction Recently, in Stewart v. Lloyd’s Underwriters, 2019 BCSC 1582, the British Columbia Supreme Court considered a claim for punitive damages arising from the insurer’s alleged breach of its duty of good faith.  Ultimately, the court agreed that punitive damages...

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Material Misrepresentation and Material Change in Risk: BC Case Commentaries

Introduction In two recently released cases, the British Columbia Supreme Court considered an insurer’s ability to have an insurance policy declared void ab initio by reason of material misrepresentation and material change in risk.  The insurer was successful in one...

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Construction on First Nations Land: Determining the Applicable Building Code

Introduction As recognized by the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples, most on-reserve housing and infrastructure is poorly built, in serious disrepair and under-supplied.[1]  This recognition has led to an increase in construction projects on First Nations lands, which will...

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Clarifying the “Trilogy” and the Covenant to Insure: Royal Host GP Inc. v. 1842259 Ontario Ltd.

Introduction In Royal Host GP Inc. v. 1842259 Ontario Ltd., 2018 ONCA 467, the Ontario Court of Appeal reversed the motion judge’s decision, clarified what is known as the “Trilogy” and allowed a landlord to advance a subrogated action against...

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Insurance Coverage for Natural Disasters

Canada's Equine Guide 2018, p. 20-24

In recent years, many parts of Canada have been devastated by natural disasters, including forest fires, ice storms, and floods. These disasters have impacted the equine community by causing loss and damage to barns, fencing, pastures, feed supplies and livestock,...

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Case Commentary: Himark Homes Ltd. v Janas, 2017 BCSC 1719 and Subrogated Warranty Claims Against Building Consultants

Introduction All new homes constructed in British Columbia are required to be protected by home warranty insurance obtained by the builder.  Generally, pursuant to the terms and conditions of the warranty insurance, the builder is required to remediate any deficiencies...

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Intentional Acts, Artful Pleading and the Duty to Defend in British Columbia

The recent Supreme Court of British Columbia case of Co-operators General Insurance Company v. Kane, 2017 BCSC 1720 confirms the broad manner in which British Columbia courts interpret the duty to defend, and the extent to which that duty can...

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Mediation in British Columbia: Does Mandatory Mediation Mean Mandatory Attendance for Lloyd’s Underwriters?

Introduction While claims against building professionals and consultants are common, very few of those claims ever go to trial. The vast majority of claims are resolved through mediation. In British Columbia, any party to an action can force the other...

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Equine Insurance: Understanding the Fine Print of your Policy

Canada's Equine Guide 2017

All horse owners and riders know that equine activities can be dangerous. Despite best efforts to stay safe around horses, accidents happen. When an accident occurs, insurance coverage may be available to respond to the injury or property damages.

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Case Commentary: Defeating an Application to be Added as a Defendant – The Owners, Strata Plan KAS 2971 v. American Bankers Insurance Company of Florida, et al., 2016 BCSC 581

Most actions commenced by a strata corporation[1] alleging negligence in the design and construction of their condominium development name multiple parties as defendants, including the original owner/developer, municipality, general contractor, trades, material suppliers and all consultants, including the architect, engineers...

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Karen Weslowski comments on importance of clear communication and contracts

Horse Sport Magazine, "Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Boarding Stable"

In the article published in the March 2016 issue of Horse Sport Magazine, she comments: “The key to a successful relationship is managing expectations; communication is key. […] Have a lawyer draft up a contract that contains all of the legal...

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The Risks and Rewards of Buying at an Auction

Equine Consumers' Guide 2016

Buying a horse is an important decision that usually involves careful planning, consideration, and research. Buying a horse at auction can remove or reduce the ability to exercise due diligence in the buying process. “Deals” and good quality horses can...

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Gone but Not Forgotten – Water Ingress Claims in British Columbia

Will rainscreens and building envelope professionals prevent another “Leaky Condo Crisis”?

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Record Keeping: Document Retention Recommendations for Building Professionals

Introduction Practically speaking, it is often inconvenient and costly for building professionals to keep project files; understandably, they do not wish to retain files any longer than necessary.  In British Columbia, the provisions of the Limitation Act, S.B.C. 2012, c....

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Limitation of Liability Clauses: Are They Enforceable and Effective?

A frequent issue raised by design consultants is the extent to which they can limit liability for claims through limitation of liability clauses.  Although such clauses are enforceable, recent case law raises questions as to their practical effectiveness. Enforceability of...

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Defamation: When Does Gossip Cross the Line?

Canadian Horse Journal

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Horse Boarding: The Value of Written Boarding Agreements

Equine Consumers' Guide, 2015

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Vancouver’s New Building Bylaw

BC Broker, October 2014, 14-15

Unlike any other city or municipality in British Columbia, the City of Vancouver is authorized by the Vancouver Charter to pass its own building bylaws regulating the design and construction of buildings as well as administrative provisions for permitting, inspection...

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Vancouver’s New Building Bylaw

Introduction Unlike any other city or municipality in British Columbia, the City of Vancouver is authorized by the Vancouver Charter to pass its own building bylaws regulating the design and construction of buildings as well as administrative provisions for permitting,...

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British Columbia Case Commentaries

The Owners, Strata Plan, BCS 1348 v. Travelers Guarantee Company of Canada, 2014 BCSC (unreported) This case provides some much needed clarity on the relationship between tort claims made by strata corporations against consultants and trades involved in construction and...

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Horse Trading: When Purchases and Sales Go Wrong

Equine Canada Magazine, December 2012/January 2013, 34-35

View the article.

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Rights and Duties of Charitable Beneficiaries

Gift Planning in Canada, July 2012, 4-5

Read the article.

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When a Horse Purchase Goes Awry

The Lawyers Weekly

Buying a horse is an exciting event. Buyers dream of future horse show wins or long trail rides. For sellers, it may be the culmination of years of training and investment. However, sales can go awry and lead to litigation....

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Practical Considerations When Making a Charitable Gift

A legacy can be created by leaving all or a portion of a person’s estate to charity. Such a gift can reflect a testator’s personal values and beliefs while making a difference in the lives of others. However, in order...

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Considerations when you decide to leave part of your estate to charity

Vancouver Sun Leave a Legacy Special Feature

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Horse Trading: An Update on Sellers’ Obligations

Equine Consumers' Guide

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The Insuring Agreement: Key Concepts of Fortuity, Accident, Occurrence, and Property Damage

CLEBC Insurance Law Conference

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Equine Insurance – Are You Covered?

Equine Consumers' Guide

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The Enforceability of Parental Waivers

Sports Law Communiqué

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Builders Lien Update: Change in Security for Costs Practice!

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Managing Risk: A Guide for Coaches and Trainers

The Canadian Horse Journal p. 24-29

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Negotiating Risk: The Use and Enforceability of Waivers in the Horse Industry

The Canadian Horse Journal p. 20-23

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Border Crossings: Importing & Exporting Horses

Horse Community Guide

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Alter Ego Trusts as a Means to Avoid Challenges to a Will

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