A civil lawsuit involving a former manager with the City of Nanaimo has been dealt with, according to a lawyer involved with the case.
Brian Denbigh, the former manager of traffic services, had filed a civil claim against the City of Nanaimo in B.C. Supreme Court last year, claiming that he was fired without cause in March 2016, less than a month after taking on a new role.
Yet, according a consent order filed in B.C. Supreme Court on May 3 and signed by both Denbigh’s legal counsel and the City of Nanaimo’s legal counsel, the civil claim against the city has been “dismissed without cost” to any party. It also states that the dismissal of the civil claim has “the same force and effect as though it were made after a trial of the action on the merits.”
Sheridan King, Denbigh’s legal counsel, confirmed with the News Bulletin that the matter involving her client has now been resolved and a consent order was issued. King said she could not comment any further on the case nor would she provide comment as to whether the matter was settled out of court.
Denbigh’s notice of civil claim against the city was first filed in January 2017. According to court documents, in November 2015, the city and Denbigh reached an agreement in which he would begin, in February 2016, a five-month assignment for Charlotte Davis, manager of sanitation, recycling and public works administration, who was set to go on maternity leave. As part of the agreement, according to court documents, Denbigh had to retire from his role as manager of traffic services and then be re-hired to fill Davis’s position. Denbigh’s claim also stated as part of the agreement, he would work the full five months and then retire for good.
The claim also stated that he received written notice from the city on March 9, 2016, indicating that he was being fired without cause and that he would no longer be working for them as of March 25, 2016, and that the decision was due to “the result of a policy change” focusing on promoting and hiring from within instead of re-hiring retirees.
The city, through legal counsel Lana Tsang, responded by denying all of Denbigh’s claims, but acknowledged that he was notified on March 9, 2016 that he was being terminated without cause effective March 25, 2016, according to court documents, which also state that because Denbigh retired and was then re-hired, the city gave him the correct amount of notice as they could consider his start date as the day he was re-hired, not the day he first started working with the city, which was back in the 1970s. Tsang’s response also stated that the city increased Denbigh’s salary by $350 a month beginning in February.
In a reply to the city’s response to civil claim dated February 28, 2017, King argued that her client e-mailed Tracy Samra, the city’s chief administrative officer, on March 14 to discuss his pending termination as well as his belief that he would be receiving $27,000 for the remaining term of his contract, but never got a response.
Denbigh had been seeking damages for wrongful dismissal and aggravated and punitive damages relating to perceived unfair conduct and breaching the implied duty of good faith in employment contracts.
Tsang could not be reached for comment prior to publication.