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Excerpt from Mahe v. Boulianne (2008)

[2008] ABQB 680 (CanLII)

Loss Of Income

In Mahe v. Boulianne (2008), Marshall J. considered the 1991 HALS and 2001 PALS data presented by this author on the plaintiff’s behalf and used it to calculate Mr. Mahe's future loss of income:

[93] I accept the Health and Activity Limitation Survey and Participation and Activity Limitation Survey ["HALS-PALS"] approach to ascertaining the effect of disability on earnings. The Plaintiff has less than 11 years of working life before likely retirement. One to two of those years will probably be spent in retraining. When this is considered along with this disability, I conclude that he should be compensated on the basis of a very severe disability with a 49% PALS reduction in earnings as set out in scenario A2 B3 on page 5 of Exhibit 18. (emphasis added)

Marshall, J's decision to adopt the HALS/PALS approach and findings is interesting in that this judge had previously been critical of testimony given by another economic expert in the 1980s using the 1986 HALS data. In testifying about the 1991 HALS/2001 PALS results, I explained on the witness stand that it is critical to undertake regression analysis in order to derive results from the HALS and PALS surveys. These results are described in Working Paper 2008-26 posted on Dr. Emery's University of Calgary faculty page, co-authored by Dr. Emery and Ms. Brown.

Loss of Housekeeping

In Mahe v. Boulianne (2008), 1 Marshall J. awarded Mr. Mahe $17,500 for his loss of household and domestic work, including pre-judgment interest, to the date of trial. He subsequently awarded $50,000 for his future loss of housekeeping capacity. 2 In making these awards, Marshall J. commented on the hourly rate used for Alberta cases:

[96] Ms. Brown prepared, as part of her report, Exhibit 18, a valuation of economic loss that flows from Mr. Mahe's reduced ability to conduct household and domestic activities...It is agreed that the hourly replacement rate for valuable services, including housekeeping, is $17.25 in Alberta at the present date.

Marshall J. also commented on the inclusion of negative contingencies after retirement age for failing health (the "health" contingency) and mortality:

[115] with respect to future impairment of the Plaintiff's capacity to carry out such work, I find Ms. Brown's use of statistics from Statistics Canada to be helpful. I accept her views respecting the likely hours an individual spends on housekeeping after retirement and the onset of advancing years. She has also considered contingencies for failing health and mortality. In this case I find it is probable that some tasks that the Plaintiff presently carries out with pain, such as gardening, will probably be affected in the future. Due to the compromised situation of his spine and the normal aging processes, he will probably be unable to carry out some of these tasks at all in the future, when he would otherwise have been able to do so.

[1] (2008) ABQB 680, filed Dec. 17, 2008. The author testified on behalf of the plaintiff in this matter.
[2] As per paragraphs [114] and [115]. Justice Marshall subsequently reduced these awards by 25% for the plaintiff's contributory negligence (para [60]).