D. Ross Clark, Q.C.
Ross Clark is a senior partner who specializes in complex litigation. He leads customized teams of lawyers in the conduct of major corporate commercial litigation, with special expertise in product liability, personal injury, professional negligence involving chartered accountants, doctors and dentists, commercial disputes, and the corporate defence of environmental prosecutions.
Mr. Clark practices regularly in the Supreme Court of British Columbia, the British Columbia Court of Appeal and Supreme Court of Canada. He was successful in achieving the first Canadian wrongful death damage award that exceeded $1,000,000 and in another case obtained US$6,500,000 which is the largest judgment for death awarded by a court in Canada.
Mr. Clark has also been retained to act in the defence of asbestos and tobacco litigation.
Mr. Clark has acted as defence counsel in environmental matters since 1976 at both the trial and appellate levels. He is consulted by clients, who are subject to investigation by regulators, to assist in developing specific strategies to minimize the probability of prosecutions and improve long term relations with the regulators. Mr. Clark has successfully led "due diligence" defences for pulp mills, oil refineries, manufacturing facilities, and forest operations and, on two occasions, secured stays of proceedings at trial based upon the defence of abuse of process. In matters of plea and penalty, Ross has extensive experience in negotiating with Crown counsel and leading evidence to minimize penalty. Mr. Clark negotiated the first penalty in British Columbia where a substantial part of the penalty was directed to Salmonid Enhancement Program rather than to the general revenues of government.
Summary of Significant Cases
Sagen et al vs. VANOC
Counsel for the Plaintiffs in a pro bono action against VANOC which seeks to require VANOC to host a women's ski jumping event as well as men's ski jumping. The suit is based upon alleged violations of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Cyprus Anvil Mining Corporation v. Gordon Dixon et al
Counsel for the dissenting shareholders in a takeover bid under the Canada Business Corporations Act. The company held as its sole asset a mineral deposit in the vicinity of the Faro Mine in the Yukon. The majority shareholders, Kerr Addison Ltd., Phelps Dodge Ltd., and Noranda Inc. had accepted $1.50 per share. At trial the shares were assessed at $21.50. On appeal the assessment was reduced to $8.00 per share.
Pax Management Ltd. et al v. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce  2 S.C.R. 998
Counsel for the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce in an action where the plaintiff was seeking damages for the wrongful appointment of a receiver and fraudulent misrepresentations made by a manager of the bank. The bank counterclaimed for the balance owing to it and claimed against the personal guarantors. At trial the manager was found to have made fraudulent misrepresentations to the guarantors and nominal damages were awarded to the plaintiffs for trespass. Judgment was granted to the bank for the balance owing on the guarantees. On appeal the judgment in favour of the bank was set aside on the basis of the bank's fraudulent conduct. The matter was appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada and the trial judgment was restored.
Icam Technologies Corporation et al v. Ebco Industries
Counsel for the plaintiff in an action claiming breach of confidence against the defendant. The plaintiff had created a proposal for the development of a high technology manufacturing facility for modern airplane parts. The proposal was based entirely on information available to any member of the public but it had been assembled in such a way that generous government funding was virtually assured. The proposal had been presented to the defendant on a confidential basis with a view to a joint venture or partnership. Instead the defendant submitted on its own behalf an almost identical proposal, secured the funding, and proceeded with the development of the facility. Judgment was awarded to the plaintiff and upheld on appeal.
Trans America Commercial Finance Corporation, Canada v. Dunwoody et al
Counsel for the defendants in an action alleging negligent preparation of financial statements, fraudulent and negligent misrepresentation. The action was dismissed at trial with special costs awarded against the plaintiff. The appeal was dismissed.
Roynat Inc. v. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce
Counsel for the defendant in an action alleging negligent misstatement on a credit enquiry by the plaintiff.
Counsel for Honeywell in the defence of product liability claims arising from aircraft accidents in British Columbia.
Hunt v. Atlas Turner Inc. et al
Co-counsel for the defendant, Lac D'Amiante du Quebec Ltee., in a representative action brought by a worker allegedly suffering from an asbestos-related disease. The true plaintiff was the Workers' Compensation Board for the Province of British Columbia. Lac operated an asbestos mine in Quebec and it was alleged that it was a participant in a conspiracy to hide the dangers of asbestos from the public. One of the plaintiff's objectives was to obtain previously undisclosed documents from the defendants so that the documents could be used in proceedings in the United States. At the trial on quantum, the plaintiff who was found to have six months to live was awarded $135,000 as damages. The action proceeded to the Supreme Court of Canada on procedural issues on three occasions, primarily on issues relating to the confidentiality and production of documents. The action and the actions it represented were settled without financial contribution from Lac after nine years of litigation. Confidentiality was maintained and all documents were returned.
Province of British Columbia v. Imperial Tobacco Ltd. et al
Counsel for Philip Morris in the defence of action brought by the Province of British Columbia against members of the tobacco industry to recover health costs arising from use of tobacco products. The action was dismissed on the grounds that the legislation upon which it was based was unconstitutional. New legislation has been passed and a second action commenced to challenge the constitutionality of the legislation. The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled this legislation constitutional and the matter is proceeding.
Complex Personal Injury
Samis v. City of Vancouver
Counsel for the plaintiff who was rendered paraplegic in a fall. The plaintiff, had been attending Oktoberfest celebrations at B. C. Place with some friends. They encountered difficulty locating their vehicle and had proceeded to the back of a parking lot to see if they could see the vehicle in the parking lots at the bottom of a steep bank. As the plaintiff turned he lost his footing and fell. The action was brought under the Occupiers Liability Act. At trial the plaintiff's claim was dismissed on the basis that he was the author of his own misfortune. On appeal liability was split between the parties on the basis that the premises were dangerous without a proper fence or sign. Quantum of damages was settled between the parties.
Simms v. Whistler Mountain Ski Corporation Inc.  B.C.J. 681
Counsel for the plaintiff in a family compensation claim where the deceased, a qualified ski instructor, died from injuries when he skied off the groomed run at a ski resort. There was no witness to the accident. At trial liability was split 60% against the plaintiff on the basis that he was not skiing under control. Damages were assessed at $3,000,000.00. On appeal liability was adjusted to an equal split. The damage award was not changed.
Mazloom et al v. Central Mountain Air Ltd. (1992) B.C.J. No.45: 72 B.C.L.R. 2d 292
Counsel for the plaintiffs in family compensation action where the deceased, a computer genius, was a passenger in a charter aircraft which disappeared on a trip between Campbell River and Smithers, British Columbia. The aircraft has never been located. At trial on liability, the jury found for the plaintiff. The finding was unsuccessfully appealed. At trial on quantum, the judge awarded U.S.$5,600,000.00, which was upheld on appeal.
Scurfield v. Caribou Helicopter Skiing Ltd. et al
Counsel for the plaintiff in a family compensation action against an heli-ski operator and guide. The deceased had died in an avalanche. At trial, liability was split 75% against the deceased on the basis that the deceased did not follow the instructions of the guide. Quantum was assessed at $4,400,000.00. On appeal the liability claim was dismissed.
Counsel for Brascan Corporation in an action brought by First Nations to stop the sale to Brascan Corporation of private and Crown timberlands where legally required consultation with the native communities had not been done. The Court allowed the transfer to proceed - (2005) 51 B.C.L.R. 4th 133.
Counsel for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation in a proposed class action brought by the plaintiffs seeking indemnity for damages caused by leaks in their buildings. The trial court declined to certify the action as a class action and granted Judgment dismissing the plaintiffs' claims - 52 C.C.L.T. (3rd) 283. The appeal was dismissed and leave to the Supreme Court of Canada was denied.
Mr. Clark has both prosecuted and defended medical and dental malpractice claims and accounting negligence claims. He has acted for plaintiffs in claims against the master of a vessel as well as lawyers.
Mr. Clark has acted as defence counsel in numerous environmental prosecutions and environmental matters since 1976. Clients have included:
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D. Ross Clark, Q.C.
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