In Arsenovski v. Bodin, Gould, and ICBC, the Plaintiff and her husband, who were recent immigrants, were walking across the street when a motor vehicle struck the Plaintiff’s husband, who fell to the ground. The Plaintiff also fell to the ground, but did not recall whether or not she was hit by the motor vehicle.
Through the assistance of a friend, as the Plaintiff and her husband faced a significant language barrier issue, an ICBC claim was made. A written statement was also signed by the Plaintiff in front of an ICBC adjuster.
The file was worked on by an injury adjuster, as well as an officer of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU). The officer recommended to Crown Counsel that the Plaintiff be charged with fraud over $5,000.00, and that both the Plaintiff and her husband be charged with making a false statement. The Crown eventually charged the Plaintiff with making a false statement, however the charge was stayed at the start of the criminal trial, as it turned out the statement was not in fact false.
The Plaintiff then sued the Defendant for malicious prosecution and, in the alternative, negligent investigation, alleging that the ICBC, its’ adjusters, and its’ investigators deliberately misstated evidence to support the criminal charges. Counsel for the Defendant argued that the ICBC investigators had information supporting the recommendations to Crown Counsel, and that they had no malice against the Plaintiff.
The Court commented that the alleged making of a false statement by the Plaintiff was an invention on the part of the SIU officer, as no such statement was ever made. In reference to the motives of the SIU officer, the Court further noted that the officer’s report had focused on the Plaintiff’s potential injury claims, which had yet to be filed at that point, and had also focused on the Plaintiff being a recent immigrant who had just applied for refugee status, who was also on social assistance.
The Court would eventually order punitive damages against ICBC in the amount of $350,000.00
 Nonetheless, I find that the conduct of the liable defendants was so high-handed, reprehensible and malicious that it offends this Court’s sense of decency and is deserving of the punishment of punitive damages. I therefore find that the plaintiff is entitled to punitive damages as against Mr. Gould and ICBC.
 Given ICBC’s role as motor vehicle insurer for a majority of drivers in British Columbia, there is a need to ensure deterrence of behaviour of this sort on its part. It cannot be said that an award of punitive damages will cause it financial hardship. An award that is too small could be seen as simply the cost of doing business. ICBC stood to gain an advantage from its conduct.
 There is no doubt that conduct of the kind that occurred in this case could dissuade people who have proper claims from vigorously pursuing them against ICBC, and could even dissuade lawyers from acting on a controversial claim for fear that ICBC will disparage them and cause trouble for them or their clients in the future. A strong message of denunciation must be sent to ICBC.
 While the community would find it reasonable for ICBC to fight fraud, I am confident that the residents of British Columbia would find it outrageous for a public corporation to use its resources maliciously. The conduct that occurred here must be condemned and punished to reflect the community’s censure and to ensure that the message is brought home to the corporation and its employees not to engage in this kind of misconduct again. The residents of British Columbia are entitled to expect professional, objective treatment by the employees of ICBC, as well as an appropriate degree of cultural sensitivity towards people who are recent migrants from other countries.