B.C. contractor who alleged tool theft, mental distress loses case in small-claims court

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A B.C. contractor has lost his lawsuit for unpaid wages and mental distress after he claimed he wasn’t paid for construction work and had his tools stolen.

The case involved JT, a contractor, and Sarin Constructions Inc. JT claimed that Sarin owed him $2,500 for construction work and an additional $2,500 for mental distress and punitive damages, totaling $5,000.

He accused the company of failing to fully pay him for work done on three construction contracts in 2022 and of misrepresenting its principal’s qualifications. Additionally, he alleged that Sarin had stolen his tools. He filed his suit with the Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT) of British Columbia.

Sarin countered that it had fulfilled its payment obligations based on verbal agreements and denied any theft of JT’s tools or misrepresentation about its principal’s qualifications.

Tribunal’s findings and decision

Payment for construction work: After reviewing the evidence, the CRT dismissed JT’s claim for the additional $2,500 for construction work. The tribunal found no substantial evidence to support his claim that additional payment was due beyond what Sarin had already paid.

Claim for mental distress and punitive damages: The tribunal also dismissed JT’s claim for mental distress and punitive damages, citing a lack of medical evidence to support the claim of mental distress and insufficient proof of extreme conduct by Sarin that would warrant punitive damages.

Tool theft allegation: The tribunal found no evidence to support the allegation that Sarin had stolen JT’s tools. Text messages indicated Sarin’s willingness to return the tools and cooperate with JT.

Misrepresentation of qualifications: Regarding the claim of misrepresentation of qualifications, the tribunal concluded that there was no substantial proof that Sarin misrepresented its principal’s qualifications or that such misrepresentation led to any loss of contracts for JT.

Outcome: The CRT dismissed all of JT’s claims. The decision underscored the importance of clear and tangible evidence in civil disputes, particularly in contractor agreements and claims of professional misconduct.

For more information, see Theriault v. Sarin Constructions Inc., 2023 BCCRT 1065 (CanLII)

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