Court finds street racer liable for other racers crash

In reasons for judgment released on Monday, the court in Suran v. Auluck, 2017 BCSC 472, found a street racer liable for the injuries suffered by a passenger in the car he had been racing.  This liability finding was made despite the fact the crash happened after the race was over and the two cars had gone their separate ways.  Madam Justice Burke wrote as follows:

[183]     As noted by counsel, when two or more people agree on an unlawful common course of action and a tort is committed, the tort is imputed to each person. See Osborne v. Pavlick, 2000 BCCA 120 at para. 16 and Chow v. Chan, 2007 BCSC 392 at para. 72.

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[185]     Mr. Marwaha argues in the alternative that if he did participate in the street race, thereby opening himself up to liability as a joint tortfeasor, that ended once both vehicles stopped for a red light at Scott Road and Nordel Way, and therefore he was no longer a joint tortfeasor when the subsequent accident occurred. There was no evidence the road race was to continue and even if there was, he points out that he was detained by Cst. Johnston and could not have continued to participate even if he had wanted to.

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[195]     I conclude Mr. Marwaha in the Cadillac and Mr. Auluck in the Chrysler 300 were engaged in a common (unlawful) course of action that ultimately precipitated the catastrophic accident and death of Mr. Suran. It was reasonably foreseeable, as argued by Ms. Suran, that participation by Mr. Marwaha in a street race at high speed on a busy street would attract police attention and action, which it did. It was also reasonably foreseeable that Mr. Auluck would flee the police as he did, based on his erratic and dangerous behaviour throughout the evening.

[196]     There is, therefore, sufficient proximity and foreseeability for Mr. Marwaha to be found partially liable for the accident. As he was indeed stopped by the police and could no longer participate in the race, I conclude Mr. Marwaha’s culpability for the accident lies at 10%.

The full decision can be found here:  http://www.courts.gov.bc.ca/jdb-txt/sc/17/04/2017BCSC0472.htm