B.C. storage space renter files proposed class action lawsuit against company over flood damage
Storage and moving company BigSteelBox Corporation is facing a proposed class action lawsuit after a customer claimed water got into his storage container during the November 2021 floods.
In a notice of civil claim, Steven Heimburger of Victoria, B.C., claims he and other customers learned that the containers were prone to leaking when exposed to heavy rain when their belongings were damaged after a severe weather system moved through the Fraser Valley in November 2021, despite the company advertising wind and water-proof containers.
As of March 20, the company advertises weather and rodent-proof containers on its website.
BigSteelBox Corporation has denied all allegations of wrongdoing.
In a response filed in B.C. Supreme Court on Nov. 23, 2022, the company said Heimburger signed an agreement in June 2021, which included the understanding that the company would not insure the contents of the container, would not be responsible for loss or damage to the contents and stated that the renter was responsible for acquiring content insurance.
But Heimburger claimed the terms of the agreement are "unreasonable," stemming from an "inequality of bargaining power" that existed between himself and the company.
The company also claims that the flooding was an unforeseeable event.
Heimburger alleges the company knew it was located on a floodplain, which the company denies, according to court documents.
The yard is located near the low-lying Sumas Prairie area, which was devastated by floodwaters in November 2021. Many parts of B.C., including Abbotsford, experienced historic flooding at that time that decimated farmlands and destroyed homes.
The Insurance Bureau of Canada has estimated the cost of insured flood damage was at least $450 million, making it the most expensive disaster in B.C. history.
Other customers at the facility have previously told CBC that they felt deceived after their storage boxes were affected by flooding at the same site in November 2021 and were not provided with any compensation.
About 20 per cent of the containers in the yard were affected, according to the company.
The proposed class action lawsuit has not yet been certified. None of the allegations have been proven in court.