Canadian Underwriter

Ontario Appeal Court rules on overlapping coverage of judo club “members”

September 26, 2007   by Canadian Underwriter

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The Ontario Court of Appeal has ordered CGU Insurance Company of Canada to contribute an equitable share of Cdn$1 million to Cdn$2.75-million settlement following a 1996 judo accident at the University of Windsor Judo Club.
CGU insured the association Judo Ontario and its members including the University of Windsor Judo Club at the time when Chester Lam was severely injured during a sparring match with a fellow classmate following a formal judo session at the university.
A lower court held two of the Windsor Judo Clubs volunteer judo instructors responsible for failing to prevent Lam and his classmates from sparring informally after the session.
The Universitys insurer, the Canadian Universities Reciprocal Insurance Exchange, originally paid the entire settlement amount. It then sought to recover an equitable contribution from CGU for its overlapping policy coverage of Judo Ontario and its members.
CGU argued the University of Windsor Judo Club was not a Judo Ontario member during the accident year, because the university club did not register or pay dues for the 2005-06 academic year (due to a low level of participation in the judo club).
Writing for the court, Ontario Court of Appeal Justice Robert Blair found the non-payment of registration fees was not sufficient to be disqualified as a member of Judo Ontario, according to the associations bylaws.
The non-payment of dues meant the University of Windsor Judo Club not a “member in good standing,” Blair noted, but that did not mean the university club was no longer a Judo Ontario member.
According to s. 2.03 of Judo Ontarios bylaws, Blair noted, a member [i.e. the University of Windsor Judo Club] must be given notice and an opportunity to cure the default and be subject to suspension or expulsion by resolution of the Judo Ontario board. That did not happen with respect to the [Windsor] Club.

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