The plaintiff in Clark v. Kouba, 2014 BCCA 50, was a marathon runner who had run the Boston Marathon before she was involved in a motor vehicle accident. Prior to the accident, she had also pursued massage therapy, chiropractic care, physical therapy and acupuncture, with incomplete relief due to running‑related injuries.
The plaintiff’s minivan was rear‑ended in a motor vehicle accident that caused minor damage to her vehicle, in the range of $300, and she did not bother to have her vehicle repaired.
Following the accident, the plaintiff completed the Boston Marathon again and obtained her second-best personal marathon time. She also continued to work and did not take any significant amount of time off work other than time for medical appointments and partial days when she left work due to headaches. She made no claim for past wage loss and her superiors testified that they did not notice any change in the plaintiff after the accident.
Included in the trial judge’s award was $100,000 for diminished income earning capacity and more than $28,000 for a yoga club membership for the rest of the plaintiff’s life.
The defendant appealed the $100,000 diminished income earning capacity award on the basis that it was excessive given the fact that the plaintiff was not claiming an award for past income loss. The defendant also appealed the cost of the lifetime yoga club membership.
The B.C. Court of Appeal upheld the trial judge’s award despite the plaintiff’s pre‑accident medical issues, despite the fact that the plaintiff continued to work after the accident and despite the fact that the plaintiff was able to run the Boston Marathon and obtain her second-best marathon time following the accident.