This week award-winning Mario’s Gelati and related businesses commenced litigation to recover devastating economic losses sustained as a result of alleged negligence, nuisance and breach of statutory duty by the City of Vancouver, Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (Vanoc) and the provincial and federal governments related to the preparation for and staging of the Olympics. The Mario’s businesses are run by entrepreneur Mario Loscerbo and include retail and wholesale components as well as a large banquet facility. Claimed losses exceed $2,500,000.
The action alleges that road construction on East First Ave. during the pre-Olympic period impeded Mario’s retail and wholesale customers and employees from gaining proper access to his businesses. The construction, which was scheduled for completion in the spring of 2009, continued unnecessarily throughout the busy summer season and into the Olympic period due to a complete failure of coordination by the defendants’ employees and their contractors. It is alleged that the work was carried out without regard to promises made that one side of 1st Avenue would remain open to vehicular traffic throughout the construction and that pedestrian access to Mario’s premises would not be impeded during the construction.
It is also alleged that the Defendants further breached their duty of care to Mario’s businesses during the Olympic period in that the planning and carrying out of the security plan for the Olympics was undertaken in a negligent, slipshod and inattentive manner without regard to Mario’s business interest. In particular, it is alleged that the defendants, without any valid reason, erected barricades and fencing which prevented customers and employees from gaining access to the premises; posted security guards in close proximity to Mario’s premises who directed members of the public and employees away from Mario’s premises; and that when they did permit access and egress, made the same so cumbersome to be of no practical benefit.
A number of articles dealing with Mario’s plight have been published during the pre-Olympic and Olympic periods: CBC.ca Feb 17, 2010 and Mar. 3, 2010, Georgia Straight Feb. 4, 2010, Vancouver Sun March 4, 2010, Canada.com Feb. 5, 2010 and Tyee.ca Feb. 4, 2010, Ottawa Citizen Mar. 4, 2010. Some great shots of Mario’s are shown in this video from Global BCTV News coverage Mar. 4, 2010. This author is counsel of record in this case.