Phelps sues grocer

Former Yukon politician Willard Phelps is suing Loblaws' Real Canadian Superstore. The statement of claim to Yukon's Supreme Court was filed on Friday.

Former Yukon politician Willard Phelps is suing Loblaws’ Real Canadian Superstore.

The statement of claim to Yukon’s Supreme Court was filed on Friday.

It regards an incident that happened one year ago when Phelps slipped, fell and “sustained severe injuries, loss and damages,” while grocery shopping in the Second Avenue store.

The claim does not outline an exact amount of damages, but that’s normal in the Yukon said Phelps’ attorney, and longtime friend Barry Ernewein.

The statement says Phelps is claiming general damages, special damages, pre-judgment interest, costs and “such further relief as this court may order.”

The claim lists all the medical facilities where Phelps was treated for fractures, musculoskeletal injuries, scratches, bruising and shortening of his right leg.

The injuries have caused “loss of function and enjoyment of life … loss of income and future loss of income.”

“He’s still laid up,” said Ernewein. “That was a very bad injury. If you see him walking you can tell. He was in a cast for so damn long he had shortening of the leg and he’s got a very, very pronounced limp. It was a bad break.

“He used to hike everyday in the mountains. The other thing he used to do a lot, he lives in Carcross, he used to go out down the lakes quite a bit, but in a cast he didn’t dare get out on a boat.”

Phelps’ case is based on the argument the pool of liquid he slipped on was in a location where the store “knew or ought to have known that persons that were shopping would be at risk and in danger,” and that it is their responsibility to ensure and maintain safe conditions.

The break and subsequent limp, due to the shortening of leg, were not the cause of Phelps’ recent retirement from politics, Ernewein said.

“As long as your mouth works, you can be in politics,” he said laughing.

Phelps began his political career in the territory in 1974.

After Chris Pearson resigned, Phelps won the Yukon Progressive Conservative Party leadership by 35 votes and was sworn in as the Government Leader on March 20, 1985.

Less than a month later, he called a general election for May 13 and lost to Tony Penikett’s New Democrats by two seats.

In 2009, Phelps announced plans to form a new, official political party in Yukon, which became known as the United Citizens Party.

In early May, Phelps blamed his broken leg for postponing the new party’s first convention. He announced his resignation shortly after that.

Phelps’ civil case will have its first management conference on August 17.

Neither Phelps nor lawyers for Loblaws Inc. responded to requests for comments before press time.

Contact Roxanne Stasyszyn at

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