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A trip in Salmon Arm leads to appearance before B.C.'s highest court

Lawyers representing the City of Salmon Arm were in a Kamloops courtroom on Wednesday, arguing before a three-judge panel from B.C.
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Lawyers representing the City of Salmon Arm were in a Kamloops courtroom on Wednesday, arguing before a three-judge panel from B.C.'s highest court, urging it to overturn a decision that allowed a woman to sue the municipality for liability after she tripped over a broken street sign.

Cindy Binette suffered undisclosed injuries on March 16, 2013, after tripping over the base of a damaged sign near the corner of Second Street and Fifth Avenue in downtown Salmon Arm.

Last year, following a hearing in Kelowna, a B.C. Supreme Court justice weighed the evidence and allowed Binette's liability claim to proceed to trial.

The City of Salmon Arm appealed that decision and, on Wednesday, urged a three-judge B.C. Court of Appeal panel to reverse it, arguing a number of errors were made -- including "errors of fact or speculative inferences" made by the B.C. Supreme Court Justice Gary Weatherill.

Lawyer Brent Olthuis, representing the municipality, said the judge jumped to conclusions about the state of the damaged sign and its base.

Olthuis also said no one complained about the damaged sign before Binette fell.

"The city at no time received notice of a hazard on the sidewalk," he said. "At no time did somebody contact the city and say, 'Hey, I noticed something at Second Street and Fifth Avenue."

A date for a decision from the B.C. Court of Appeal has not been set. The court is sitting in Kamloops for three days this week.