KAMLOOPS, B.C. — A British Columbia teenager who suffered a catastrophic brain injury after being beaten by a man with a baseball bat has been awarded nearly $7 million in damages.
B.C. Supreme Court Justice Sukhdev Dley says in a ruling posted Thursday that Kristopher Teichrieb must pay for loss of earnings, the cost of future care and other necessities for Jessie Simpson.
In June 2016, Simpson was 18 years old and celebrating his high school graduation when he entered Teichrieb's yard in Kamloops, B.C.
The ruling says the 39-year-old, six-foot-tall, 220-pound Teichrieb attacked the 135-pound Simpson, beating him so severely that a responding police officer described the injuries as the worst he had ever seen.
In finding Simpson has been "robbed of the ability to lead a normal life," Dley has awarded $3 million for costs of future care and nearly $1.5 million for loss of future earnings but did not assess punitive damages against Teichrieb.
The man pleaded guilty to aggravated assault in late 2018 and is serving a seven-year prison term, which Dley says meets the goals of punishment and deterrence that would otherwise be addressed by an award of punitive damages.
"A monetary fine will serve no greater purpose than the impact of the lengthy jail sentence," Dley says in his reasons for judgment.
The civil judgment totalling $6,935,445.79 must be fair to both Teichrieb and Simpson, the judge says.
"Simpson was a young man about to embark on the post-graduation challenges and experiences of life."
"Those are forever gone," says Dley.
Simpson, now in his early 20s, is living at a long-term care home in Kamloops and has some ability to communicate, but has no bowel or bladder control, cannot get out of bed unassisted and the judgment says he must be turned every two hours to avoid pressure sores.
He “remains, essentially, fully dependent on others for all his care needs, and activities of daily living” and a doctor's report included in the judgment estimates "further improvements would be minimal."
In addition to the nearly $4.5 million awarded for future care and loss of earnings, Dley reimbursed Simpson's mother more than $110,000 for her loss of income and out-of-pocket expenses incurred before and after Simpson came out of a nine-month coma.
Damages against Teichrieb also include nearly $1.5 million in trust to the Ministry of Health and just over $400,000 to the Crime Victim Assistance Program.
The judgment adds $393,000 for non-pecuniary or general damages to pay for things that will "make life more bearable" for Simpson, but because the amount is at the upper end of the available range, Dley declined to add aggravated damages to the amount.
"To award aggravated damages as a separate head of damages would be a duplication of an award already accounted for (by the non-pecuniary award). Accordingly, the claim for aggravated damages as a separate head of damages is dismissed."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 12, 2021.
The Canadian Press