Neurosurgeon Crashes his Ferrari F40, Demands Payout of Almost C$1 Million Citing ‘Embarrassment’
You would be totally embarrassed if you crashed your car. But would you be embarrassed and then sue a company for being embarrassed? Isn’t that downright ridiculous?
Neurosurgeon Dr. Navraj Heran who crashed his 1990 Ferrari F40 onto a streetlight pole back in 2012 in British Columbia, Canada did just that. Initially he filed a claim with the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) who offered him $503,000.
He then complained that it was not enough, and it ought to be $696,000. The car had to be shipped to Toronto for repairs, which brought the payout to $790,000. The insurer had already covered those costs but he said it still was not enough and is now suing ICBC to cover what he says is the full cost of repairs – an estimated $982,000.
But the two most interesting parts of the lawsuit are:
“18. The Plaintiff is a known collector of Ferrari automobiles, which he makes available for public display and appreciation. The notable absence of the Vehicle is a source of inquisitive inquiry that the Plaintiff finds unsettling and embarrassing. The show absence of the Vehicle is not a matter that the Plaintiff should have to repeatedly deal with on a public basis.
19. At all material times herein, the Defendant knew that their handling delay would damage the Plaintiff’s reputation within the community of Ferrari collectors and assail his sense of dignity.”
However, the judge handling this case referred to the ‘embarrassing’ part as ‘frivolous’:
“ Second, I am striking paragraphs 18 and 19 in Part 1 of the ANOCC, which allege that as a result of ICBC’s breach of its implied duties of good faith and prompt performance, the plaintiff suffered embarrassment, an affront to his “sense of dignity” and harm to his reputation among other Ferrari owners. I find this to be both a “frivolous” allegation within the meaning of Rule 9-5 and harm that would not have been within the contemplation of parties to a contract of motor vehicle insurance: see Fidler v. Sun Life Assurance Co. of Canada, 2006 SCC 30 (CanLII), at paras. 44-5; Loric v. The Toronto-Dominion Bank, 2008 BCSC 478 (CanLII), at paras. 24-8.
This case has sparked controversy. The ballooning price tag for Heran’s crash has drawn criticism in the province, as some say luxury car owners are not paying their fair share in insurance premiums.
ICBC forecasts an estimated $1.3 billion operating loss this fiscal year. Critics say that loss could be mitigated by pressuring high-end car owners to pay more each month.
CTV Vancouver investigated and discovered that the insurance premium on a $700,000 Ferrari is roughly four times the premium paid for a $16,000 Honda Civic, despite the fact that the Ferrari is worth more than 40 times the value of the Honda.
Whatever the outcome, we hope that Mr. Neurosurgeon has himself checked out first.