Rajinder Sahota | Acheson Sweeney Foley Sahota

Rajinder S. Sahota

Partner

Raj began his career practicing corporate law in Toronto and New York, representing large transnational corporations. After several years of legal practice dedicated solely to maximizing quarterly returns for his corporate clients, Raj returned to his hometown of Victoria, BC, where he specializes in representing those physically or psychologically injured due to the fault of others, corporations, and/or government institutions.

Raj has argued cases at all levels of the Federal and British Columbia courts. A substantial portion of Raj’s legal practice is dedicated to cases featuring complex liability and causation arguments. Raj has acted as co-counsel and settled cases where individual plaintiff’s have successfully recovered damages of up to eight figures. See some of his representative work below.

Raj also heads Acheson Law’s class action practice, which takes on challenging cases featuring physical or psychological injuries and human rights violations. Acheson Law was instrumental in drafting the Class Proceedings Act, S.B.C. 1995, c.21 and successfully prosecuted the first class actions in British Columbia. In one action, the firm was successful against the government for negligently setting or applying safety standards applicable to radiant ceiling heating panels, and against the manufacturers of the panels for product liability. In another successful proceeding, the firm represented British Columbia residents in a class action for injuries caused by the drug Prepulsid; and in another, in a class action respecting defective silicone breast implants. Acheson Law was co-counsel in a class action alleging sexual, physical and emotional abuse of students by staff and peers at the Jericho Hill School, a residential school for the deaf and blind operated by the province of British Columbia. For details on our current class actions, click here.

Representative Work

In Hill v. Murray, 2014 BCSC 1528, Raj and his partner Natalie Foley argued that the plaintiff, who suffered primarily from chronic pain syndrome, a mild traumatic brain injury, and a vestibular injury due to a motor vehicle collision, was entitled to damages for future loss of earning capacity as she was unable return to her pre-accident level of work as a floral supervisor at Butchart Gardens. They presented evidence establishing that the defendant caused the collision when his steel-toed boot became caught under his vehicle’s brake pedal. While trying to get his boot unstuck, he veered into oncoming traffic, struck our client’s vehicle and sent it crashing over an embankment. Macaulay J. agreed and awarded $1,061,224 in damages, including $600,000 for future loss of earning capacity, $23,000 for future loss of employment benefits, and $110,000 for future loss of pension benefits.

In Vandendorpel v. Evoy, 2016 BCCA 270, Raj successfully appealed a BC Supreme Court finding that the plaintiff was entirely at fault for proceeding, at night, in dark clothing, through a pedestrian controlled crosswalk, in the face of a do not walk sign, resulting in injuries due to a collision with a vehicle. The BC Court of Appeal agreed with Raj that the defendant’s speed above the limit, and the defendant’s speed relative to the poor conditions, required a thorough analysis of light sequencing at the crosswalk to determine the degree of fault attributable to the defendant driver, and remitted the matter back to the BC Supreme Court for a determination accordingly.

In Dhami v. Bath, 2014 BCSC 751, Raj argued that the plaintiff had been deceived by the defendant in the context of a real-estate development deal gone bad. Despite the high burden on plaintiffs in proving civil fraud cases, Raj’s effective cross examination of the defendant resulted in Gerow J. finding that the defendant had fraudulently misrepresented material facts to the plaintiff over the course of the deal, and she ordered damages against the defendant accordingly.

In The Corporation of the City of Victoria v. Thompson, 2011 BCSC 1810, Raj acted pro-bono on behalf of the Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria and Occupy Victoria, who were staging a civil- and social-rights protest at City Hall. Raj argued that granting the interlocutory injunction that the City of Victoria sought would violate the protesters’ s.2 Charter right to freedom of expression, which should trump the promotional activities of the Downtown Victoria Business Association. Schultes J. distinguished “statutorily-based injunctions” from equitable injunctions, noting that with the former, he had only a very narrow degree of discretion at this interlocutory or interim stage, that such discretion could be triggered only in exceptional circumstances, and that this political protest did not rise to the level of exceptional circumstances. Critically, the Court declined to order an enforcement clause given the overall context of the matter and the issues raised. As with other injunction proceedings against civil- and social-rights advocates, the City of Victoria did not advance the matter to a trial where the substantive Charter arguments could be considered.

Memberships and Professional Affiliations:

Member, Law Society of British Columbia

Member, Trial Lawyers Association of British Columbia

Member, Canadian Bar Association

Community Involvement:

Director-At-Large, Pacifica Housing Advisory Association

Past Director-At-Large, MOVE Adapted Fitness & Rehabilitation Society of B.C.

Past Director-At-Large, Greater Victoria Bike to Work Society

Education:

LL.M., London School of Economics

J. D., University of Victoria

B.Comm., University of Victoria

Jurisdictions:

Ontario

British Columbia

Hobbies/Interests:

When not working, Raj focuses his attention on issues of social justice, both locally and abroad. Raj often provides pro-bono legal services to progressive, local organizations striving to bring about positive social change.

Have you been injured through no fault of your own?