Feb. 15, 2021 – On July 15, 2019, Brooke Crawford and her daughter, Falynn Crawford, were asleep in their Clarendon Station, Ont., home when they were suddenly woken up by a blaring alarm. The house, on fire, filled with smoke. While they were able to escape, the house was severely damaged.
After inspection, their insurance company deemed it a “complete loss”. A demolition and rebuild was the only solution. Brooke’s husband and Falynn’s father, Philip Crawford, negotiated a settlement with their insurer.
At the time, Philip’s sister Christina was dating a man named Shane Ross, a contractor. According to court documents, the Crawford’s were impressed by his credentials and hired his services to rebuild their home. Ross operated a company under the name of Standard Building Contractors Limited.
Despite receiving $137,690.50 from the Crawfords’ insurers, the family alleges. Ross has “done nothing more than undertake excavation and grading”. Over 20 months since they retained his services, the Crawfords, tied up in litigation with Ross and his companies (Standard Building Contractors Limited and Standard Paving Limited), are still living in a trailer on the property their house once stood.
In November 2019 the Crawfords terminated their relationship with Ross. They claimed a total of $200,000 in damages. The Court in Kingston issued an interim “Mareva” injunction in December that same year. The Mareva injunction froze all assets of Ross, including all the funds that Ross swindled from them.
Ross and his company Standard Building, in turn, counterclaimed a total of $198,607.15 which they say is the “value of work done by them for the Crawfords”. Standard Building also registered a construction lien against the property in the amount of $34,493.92 in January 2020.
In November 2020 the case was heard in Kingston. Judge Graeme Mew issued his judgment on Jan. 7, 2021. He found that the excavation and related work of Ross and his company Standard Building to have a value of $10,000 and that the Crawford’s validly terminated their contract with them.
Justice Graeme Mew held that “Mr. Ross engaged in deceptive and fraudulent conduct both personally and through his companies.” Judge Mew further held “Mr. Ross is personally liable not only for his own conduct but for what was done directly or indirectly by him through Standard Building and Standard Paving.”
The judge determined Ross and his companies owed the Crawfords $127,690.50 in addition to the contractual interest of 2 per cent per month. He also found the events of the case warranted an award of punitive damages against the defendants for $50,000. The Crawfords were also awarded $7,500 in damages pursuant to section 35 of the Construction Act, R.S.O. 1990, c C.30.
The order that froze the assets of the Ross and his companies was also made permanent. It will provide a fund from which the Crawfords can rebuild their home.
Ross was also found in contempt of court. The story on the sanctions for Ross’ contempt of court is impending. The full decision of the Court’s judgment of fraud against Shane Ross and his company Standard Building Contractors Limited is available here.