Chris grew up in BC and graduated from the UBC Faculty of Law in 2002 and was called to the Bar in 2003. He is the head of MacKenzie Fujisawa’s insurance group.
He acts for multiple insurers for which he advises on claims disputes, coverage disputes and subrogated proceedings. His other areas of practice include non-insurance civil and appellate counsel work and administrative law. He has appeared at all levels of court, namely the Provincial Court and Supreme Court of British Columbia, Federal Court, Federal Court of Appeal and Supreme Court of Canada.
He is a member of the Insurance, Civil Litigation and Administrative Law sections of the Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch. He has served on committees for CBABC and currently a member of the CBABC Civil Litigation Vancouver Executive (Member-at-Large) which deals with the practice of civil litigation, including rules and procedures for the conduct of civil cases, the enforcement of judicial decisions and the role of counsel in the civil litigation system.
Chris served a term as managing partner of MacKenzie Fujisawa LLP from May 2016 until May of 2018.
Waterman v. IBM Canada Limited, 2013 SCC 70: Mr. Waterman was almost 66 years old and had worked for IBM for 42 years. IBM terminated his employment without cause and gave him two months’ of working notice. Mr. Waterman was entitled to receive pension benefits and began to do so immediately. However, he had no intention of retiring so he sued IBM for wrongful dismissal. The majority of the SCC decided the pension benefits should not be deducted from the 18 months’ pay in lieu of reasonable notice (20 months total less the two months of working notice) the trial court awarded to Mr. Waterman. Pension benefits are not intended to be an indemnity for wage loss due to unemployment and should not be used to subsidize an employee’s wrongful dismissal.
Lanfer v Eilers, 2021 BCCA 241: A German court found that the plaintiffs, German citizens, were entitled to certain land in BC pursuant to an “inheritance contract” and ordered the defendant, also a German citizen and the registered owner of the land, to transfer the land to the plaintiffs. In defiance of the German judgment, the defendant instead transferred the land to an innocent third party. The plaintiffs then commenced an action in BC to enforce the German judgment. The BC Court of Appeal unanimously reversed the BC trial court and held that the German judgment was valid and enforceable, and vested the land to the plaintiffs. Parties who obtain judgments relating to land in jurisdictions outside of BC may, if certain conditions are met, enforce those judgments in BC.
Imperial Metals Corporation v. Factory Mutual Insurance Company, 2022 BCSC 73: Imperial Metals suffered loss and damage when its tailings disposal facility (“TDF”) at the Mount Polley Mine collapsed, resulting in a shutdown of the mine. Factory Mutual, which insured the property, promptly paid Imperial Metals $10 million, being the applicable sublimit of liability under the policy of insurance. Imperial Metals then sued the engineers who designed the TDF and recovered a significant sum by way of settlement. Imperial Metals also sued Factory Mutual, claiming that it was liable for up to $250 million under the policy. Factory Mutual counterclaimed against Imperial Metals for a declaration that it was entitled to a share of the engineers’ settlement funds under s. 36 of the British Columbia Insurance Act. The judge agreed with Factory Mutual that the $10 million sublimit applied, but held that it applied separately to property damage and business interruption losses. The judge also agreed that Factory Mutual was entitled to share in the engineers’ settlement funds in accordance with the Insurance Act. Paul Cote and Chris Watson of MacKenzie Fujisawa LLP were counsel for Factory Mutual in this proceeding.