Court news, briefly

Some recent news out of Yukon courts

Yukon Supreme Court dismisses Dawson placer miners’ case

A Yukon Supreme Court judge has formally dismissed the case of two Dawson-area placer miners whose claims overlapped with Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in settlement land.

Michel Vincent and Michael Heydorf took the Yukon’s Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources to court last year alleging that the Dawson Mining Recorder, under the direction of the minister’s office, was “knowingly and willfully breaking … the Canadian Constitution.”

The allegation stemmed from the Mining Recorder’s decision to reject the men’s applications to renew their claims because they previously hadn’t submitted proper paperwork before commencing drilling, as is required for claims located on First Nations settlement land.

The miners, who were self-represented, had argued that because they had staked their claims before the signing of the Umbrella Final Agreement and Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in’s Final Agreement, their claims should be treated as if they were on Crown land. They asked for their claims to be renewed as well as for their claims to be considered valid as the case worked its way through court.

In a decision released in February following a hearing, Justice Ron Veale dismissed the miners’ request for both a mandatory injunction and a judicial review of the Mining Recorder’s decision, finding that their arguments had no legal basis.

An order formalizing the dismissals was filed to the court June 19.

City of Whitehorse responds to bus fall lawsuit

The City of Whitehorse has responded to a lawsuit alleging it’s liable for injuries sustained by a woman who fell on a city bus as it accelerated.

In a statement of defence filed June 27, the city denies that Jovelita Tang was injured during the incident in 2017, and that if she was, it was her own fault.

Tang sued the city as well as a “John Doe” bus driver in August 2018 for negligence. She claimed that she boarded a bus on Range Road in November 2017 and was walking down the aisle to a seat when the driver “abruptly accelerated the Bus from the stopped position, causing (Tang) to fly towards the back of the Bus, and crash into part of the internal structure of the bus.”

The lawsuit alleges that she suffered “musculoskeletal injuries” as a result.

In its filing, however, the city claims that Tang boarded the bus “passing numerous empty seats and without holding onto a railing or hand-hold,” and as the bus “gently accelerated,” Tang “fell into a crouched position and then rolled on to her back.”

The statement denies that Tang sustained any injuries, but says that if she did, they were caused by her own alleged negligence, which included failing to look at where she was going and moving in a “hurried and careless manner.”

The city is asking for the lawsuit to be dismissed.

The case has not yet been tested in court.

YG denies liability for plane damaged at Haines Junction airport

The Yukon government is denying that it’s liable for damage caused to a small plane at the Haines Junction airport earlier this year after shingles blew off the roof.

The plane’s owner, pilot Alexander Lansfield, took the Yukon government to small claims court June 12, alleging its negligence — namely, failing to maintain the airport’s roof — was to blame for the $25,000 in damage to his experimental Piper PA-20 Pacer.

In a reply filed June 28, the Yukon government denied the claim, attributing the incident to “an extreme weather event, and not the negligence of the Defendant.”

The reply also notes that the Yukon government does not charge for aircraft parking at the Haines Junction airport and “owners who park their aircraft there do so at their own risk.”

The Yukon government is asking for Lansfield’s claim to be dismissed.

The case has not yet been tested in court.

(Jackie Hong)

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