Family wins lawsuit against company for not providing headstones

A St. John's man has won his legal fight against W.D. Kenny Granite Company, but he's convinced he won't see a cent from the judge's decision.

Roy Cahill represented himself in small claims court in St. John's on Tuesday — a small room that was packed with other families who say they have had similar dealings with Bill Kenny and his Mount Pearl company.

The case proceeded, even though Kenny wasn't present.

Cahill told the court how his family paid W.D. Kenny Granite $9,200 for headstones in April 2018, and has yet to receive them.

He said Kenny gave him "many excuses and delays" since then, often telling him "tomorrow or the next day."

"It's been a nightmare," he said, noting that this situation has affected his health, and the health of his elderly mother.

Ted Dillon/CBC

Judge Mark Pike said he accepted Cahill's testimony, and that the company "acted deceitfully" toward the plaintiff.

He ordered the company to pay Cahill back the money, plus costs and interest.

Outside the courtroom, Cahill said he was pleased with the outcome.

"It's a step forward in the right direction, there's no doubt," he said.

Other financial issues

But Cahill questioned how the family will get their money back, as the company is facing other financial issues.

W.D. Kenny Granite Company is currently in receivership.

Rob Antle/CBC

In September, a trustee changed the locks and took possession of its building on Topsail Road.

According to the trustee's receivership filings, the company owes about $600,000 in known debts to creditors, including the Bank of Montreal, the Canada Revenue Agency, and customers who have previously taken the headstone company to court.

Cahill said the family has given up hope of ever getting their money back.

"There's more involved than just money. It's the principle. It's what he has done, and the wrong he has done to each and every member of our families."

Other families affected

Gerard Knight was also in the courtroom on Tuesday. He said he has been waiting two years for Bill Kenny to place a headstone at his uncle's gravesite.

He said the trustee handling his uncle's estate won their small claims lawsuit in November 2018.

Gary Locke/CBC

"[Kenny] had until Dec. 15 to place the headstone, [but he] never did. It's still not in yet... It's still just a stick in the ground," Knight said.

"There's no one to speak for [my uncle]; he's deceased. So I'm the only one here to speak up for him."

Ted Dillon/CBC

Renee Dawe was also in court to hear Cahill's case.

She said her father was Austin Kenny — a relative of Bill Kenny's.

"We went to [W.D. Kenny Granite] because he was [a] family member, and thinking... our dad would be really proud of us," she said. 

"And when we got there, we just got story after story."

Submitted by Gerry Knight

Dawe said they were waiting for six months, before she heard about Cahill's situation.

She said that's when she knew her family wasn't getting the headstone they had ordered.

As Father's Day approached, Dawe said her family didn't want the gravesite to be empty, so they decided to go elsewhere for a monument.

"We called another company, [and] within eight days, my dad had a headstone. And we were almost a year and a half with Bill Kenny trying to get a headstone. It's not right," she said.

"Nobody should have to go through this."