A provincial court judge has ordered ICBC to pay more than $11,000 to the mother of a gangster gunned down in Surrey two years ago.
Stephen Leone, 27, was driving an Acura owned by John Stevens when gunmen opened fire on Oct. 22, 2011.
Leone, an associate of the late Sukh Dhak, was killed and his passengers – Manny Hairan and a teenaged boy – were wounded.
The vehicle was totaled in the crash caused by the shooting and Stevens made a claim to ICBC for compensation. He was told there would be a pay-out of $11,441.
Stevens wanted to help Leone’s mother Hazel Burns cover the funeral costs “and offered to transfer the totaled vehicle to her on the understanding that ICBC would pay the money for his claim to her,” Provincial Court Judge R.D. Morgan noted in a recent ruling.
But after ownership of the vehicle was transferred to Burns, ICBC said the claim had been nullified.
So Burns went to court in Quesnel.
“The claimant says it was the intent of the previous owner that she should receive the claim money. ICBC takes the position that the fact of the transfer nullifies the claim,” Morgan said.
Morgan noted that Burns had called an ICBC Dial-a-Claim agent to confirm it would be okay to transfer the vehicle before the claim was paid and was told it would be.
“After receiving the information from the Dial-a-Claim agent, Ms. Burns hung up the phone and completed the transfer with the Quesnel agent, believing the payout on the claim would go to her,” Morgan said.
But a few days later an ICBC adjuster told her the claim had been rendered void.
Morgan accepted Burn’s testimony about the information she was provided.
“The claim had been adjudicated and the Corporation had determined the amount of its liability. The only thing left to do on the claim was to send a cheque to Mr. Stevens,” Morgan said.
Stevens eventually gave Burns a letter confirming he wanted her to have the claim, but ICBC said the document came too late.
But Morgan ordered ICBC to pay Burns the full amount plus court filing fees.
Leone’s murder remains unsolved. And his passenger Hairan was killed in a later shooting in January 2013.