Victims treated at the scene when an Aldergrove deck collapsed on April 19, 2019, ranged in age from 15 to 83. (Shane MacKichan/Special to Black Press Media)

Victims treated at the scene when an Aldergrove deck collapsed on April 19, 2019, ranged in age from 15 to 83. (Shane MacKichan/Special to Black Press Media)

Multiple Aldergrove deck collapse lawsuits moving toward trial

Judges are holding case management conferences to deal with the dozens of participants

The lawsuits over a collapsed deck in Aldergrove that injured dozens of people is still moving through the courts, as conferences are held to sort out the many plaintiffs involved.

Case planning conferences were scheduled through the middle of February for the cases, which involve at least 30 claims for injuries caused when the second-storey deck collapsed on April 19, 2019.

The deck collapsed during a wedding celebration and at least 40 people were injured when it suddenly gave way.

Most of the plaintiffs are people who were injured.

Case planning has taken place over several days so far. It’s intended to bring parties in a lawsuit together to discuss how the case will proceed. A judge can address options for resolving the dispute, dates for the various sides to exchange documents, and the use of expert witnesses.

Case planning can precede a trial, but B.C.’s online court information system does not list a trial date yet.

The multiple lawsuits have largely targeted Amaroo Estate, the company that rented out the Aldergrove home for events, but the lawsuits have dragged in multiple other people and companies, including previous owners of the home who might have built the deck, and the Township of Langley.

Jatinder Singh Garcha, who rented the house and is one of the people who was hurt in the collapse, has also been sued by some of the other injured people.

The injured parties and the Township have also targeted previous owners of the home, as the Township has claimed in its court filings that the deck was illegally built and that the event rentals business was operating without a license.

One former owner, Dennis Murphy, filed a statement of defense with the courts in January saying that he had had his name added to the property’s deed without his knowledge, back 1990.

READ MORE: Former Aldergrove property owners added to deck collapse lawsuit

Murphy said Ronald Zaruk was the true owner of the home at the time, and allegedly added Murphy’s name to the land title.

Murphy said he “only became aware of the transfer… when he was contacted by creditors of Zaruk, including Canada Revenue Agency.”

He said Zaruk was responsible for all construction during the time Murphy’s name was on the title.

Zaruk, according to the Township’s claims, may have been the original builder of the home, and the Township alleges that either Zaruk, his firm Norm-Ron Construction, or a group known as ABC Contractors may have been involved with construction or alteration of the deck.

None of the claims in any of the many lawsuits have been tested or proved in court.

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