The judge largely sided with the victim in her written decision for a civil case linked to a 2010 vehicle-pedestrian accident in Labrador.
In a decision issued Monday, Feb. 10, Justice Francis Knickle of the Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court ruled Bradley Evoy and his father, Hubert Loder, were both liable to the victim, Sarabeth Kippenhuck.
Evoy was driving a vehicle Loder owned on Nov. 8, 2010 in Happy Valley-Goose Bay when he struck Kippenhuck and a man she was walking with that night, Christopher Ivany, on Campbell Street. Kippenhuck's body damaged the windshield and she sustained a broken leg. Evoy drove her to a hospital after the accident.
Knickle singled out Kippenhuck for being contributorily negligent. She noted Kippenhuck, who was out walking her dog with the man, should have walked facing traffic, particularly at night.
Neither Kippenhuck or Ivany wore reflective clothing when the accident occurred. Kippenhuck had testified in a hearing last fall in St. John's they were not aware of Evoy's vehicle until they were hit.
"If she had been walking on the other side of the street, she may have avoided being hit by Mr. Evoy," Knickle wrote. "I am satisfied that when I consider all the circumstances, Ms. Kippenhuck was negligent and this negligence contributed to her injury."
However, Knickle determined Kippenhuck's level of culpability was not on par with that of Evoy. She wrote he displayed a "cavalier attitude" during the hearing last fall, interrupted proceedings and argued with the court. She ultimately found him not to be a credible witness.
Evoy told the court a dog in his vehicle was barking after it spotted Kippenhuck's dog. Evoy said he saw Kippenhuck’s dog in the middle of the road and swerved to avoid it, thus hitting Kippenhuck and clipping the man who was with her. Knickle did not consider this evidence to be credible.
"Neither Ms. Kippenhuck nor Mr. Ivany testified to hearing a dog bark, or seeing another dog, or hearing tires screech when the accident occurred. If Mr. Evoy’s dog had been barking out the driver’s side window at Ms. Kippenhuck’s dog, one might have expected that Ms. Kippenhuck and Mr. Ivany would have heard this."
Loder confirmed in the hearing last fall Evoy was not insured to drive his vehicle. Knickle found Evoy negligent and liable to Kippenhuck and apportioned his fault at 90 per cent. Loder was found jointly liable with Evoy for his son's negligence under Section 200 of the Highway Traffic Act. The judge apportioned Kippenhuck's fault at 10 per cent. According to the decision, a date must be set for a hearing to determine the appropriate award of damages.