Daniel S. Barbour is an accountant from Vancouver. A few years back, the University of British Columbia provided him with a ticket, claiming that he had accumulated four (4) unpaid tickets and he disputed this. The next time he was parked, legally on the UBC campus (take a virtual tour of the UBC), his car was towed for and held ransom for $200, due to alleged unpaid parking fines. In response, he initiated a class action lawsuit against the University in 2005 and took the position that the University of British Columbia was governed by the University Act and had no authority to issue parking tickets and to then collect fines, for unpaid tickets. In response to the plaintiff’s, UBC took the position that they had the right to ticket/fine and tow motor vehicles on their property and that they would vigourously fight this lawsuit as the “respondent”.
The fight that Mr. Barbour (the “plaintiff”) began has been a long one. He first had to go to British Columbia’s Supreme Court between October 2-5, 2006 and wait for the first decision, which was released by Justice Mr. Richard Goepel on December 20, 2006. In response the UBC had to post a notice alerting people that a class action suit was taking place and making them aware of a short form notice or a long form notice and whether or not they wanted to become a member of that class action civil suit.
A second hearing took place in this matter, in The Supreme Court of British Columbia in Vancouver, British Columbia between September 22-26, 2008 in the continuing case called Barbour versus The University of British Columbia. The Honourable Mr. Justice Richard B.T. Goepel presided over the class action suit and rendered his second award on March 30, 2009.
Under the Summary of his award, Justice Richard B.T. Goepel writes, in part:
The Parking Regulation Fines are ultra vires. UBC cannot enter contracts or licenses that incorporate the Parking Regulation Fines. UBC’s common law proprietary rights authorize the towing and storage of vehicles parked contrary to the Parking Regulations. UBC is entitled to collect the costs arising from such towing. UBC cannot, however, rely on its proprietary rights to charge or collect the Parking Regulation Fines. The plaintiff and other class members are entitled to restitution in the amount of the Parking Regulation Fines subject only to applicable defences under the Limitations Act, towing and storage charges and the applicability of UBC’s claim of set-off which has yet to be resolved.
Between January 1, 1990 and December 31, 2005 the University of B.C. generated 432,847 thousand illegal parking tickets. The number of tickets generated between January 1, 2006 up to and including April 1, 2009 is unclear, but based on the previous numbers, it has to be at least another 80 thousand tickets. A review of the decision means that the University of British Columbia will have to pay back hundreds of thousands of motorists (probably about $40) to each person, who paid for illegally issued parking fines, since 1990. It has been reported that the UBC will have to pay over 4 million dollars, plus pre-judgement interest, found in the Court Order Interest Act.
This is a excerpt from the first court decision, describing the areas that UBC’s PACS (Parking and Access Control Services) would descend upon, generating and issuing as many tickets as they needed to, on a regular and consistent basis:
Currently, UBC maintains three types of parking facilities:
(1) five parkades with approximately 4,900 parking spaces;
(2) more than forty surface lots with approximately 3,000 parking spaces; and
(3) approximately 300 metered parking spaces.
Here is the University of British Columbia’s response to Justice Richard B.T. Goepel’s March 30, 2009 decision.
The fight that Daniel Barbour commenced in 2005, isn’t over yet. In a University of British Columbia (UBC) April 2009 Bulletin, the UBC in the last paragraph of the Bulletin, states that they are appealing the Supreme Court of British Columbia’s decision, as constructed by the presiding Judge, Justice Mr. Richard Goepel on March 30, 2009. This response by the respondent is somewhat predictable, given the millions of dollars it will have to pay out to those who had to pay for the illegal tickets issued by the UBC’s PACS.
“People who fight may lose. People who do not fight have already lost.”:author/playwright Bertolt Brecht