BRITISH COLUMBIA

B.C. Man's Emails Making False Allegations Against Boat Dealer Cost Him $40,000

10/16/2014 04:19 EDT | Updated 12/17/2014 05:59 EST
KAMLOOPS, B.C. - A judge has ordered a British Columbia man to pay $40,000 in damages for sending emails making false allegations against a Seattle boat dealer.

The emails were sent during a dispute over defective windows on the man's yacht.

Ray Prokorym, sales manager at a boat dealership, filed a lawsuit in B.C. Supreme Court against Robert Turpin following a series of emails sent in April 2012.

Court heard that in December 2011, Prokorym sold Turpin a used 19.5-meter for $1.16 million.

After Turpin, of 100 Mile House, B.C., took possession of the vessel, he realized some of the windows were defective.

In April 2012, Prokorym offered to split the cost of the windows — an $11,000 fix — in “good faith.”

Turpin did not accept the offer and instead sent an email to dealership employees, falsely describing Prokorym as a convicted sex offender.

Turpin also threatened to hang a banner from his boat calling Prokorym a liar.

He eventually sent the email to 23 addresses associated with yacht sales. He never followed through on his threat to send it to Puget Sound schools and churches and no banner was ever hung from his yacht.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Ian Meiklem said the emails established publication of the defamatory claims.

In a sworn affidavit, Turpin said he was in “a tailspin, psychologically speaking, of drug and alcohol abuse” when he sent the emails.

He said he was forced to sell the yacht at a loss of $200,000 because he couldn’t afford to replace the 17 defective windows.

Meiklem ordered Turpin to pay $30,000 in general damages, $10,000 in punitive damages and $615 in costs.

Prokorym also filed a criminal complaint with the RCMP. That investigation is ongoing. (Kamloops This Week)