Condo design project leads to harassment allegations and a lawsuit

Apr 6 2023, 8:10 pm

A BC condo design project took a turn for the worst, which included a lawsuit after things didn’t go how a client had hoped.

In a case between Vancouver-based Vector International Homes and Hua Yu Mao, Mayumi Shimizu, a rep from Vector, suggested that Mao did not pay for the services provided.

Mao had also filed a counterclaim, claiming she was the victim of harassment.

Shimizu claimed $3,202.50, which was owed on the final invoice. In contrast, Mao claimed she was owed $5,000 for completing Shimizu’s alleged incomplete work and for emotional distress, including prescription medication costs, expenses related to feeling too unsafe to move, and compensation for being unable to perform her usual work duties.

The case involves a third party who wasn’t directly involved in the case named Anova Constructions Ltd., a contractor.

There were a few questions the tribunal member overseeing the case, Kristin Gardner, was hoping to find answers to.

Did Shimizu “substantially” complete her work, and was she entitled to the claimed $3,202.50 for her services? Was her work deficient? Did Shimizu improperly give Mao keys to Anova? And is Mao entitled to compensation for emotional distress?

Some of the undisputed facts include Shimizu being hired for interior design work. The extensive project included replacing the floors and a bedroom wall, building a closet, removing a solarium door, replacing the bathroom and kitchen sinks, cabinets, and countertops, installing new appliances, painting, retiling the fireplace, and furnishing the condo.

Shimizu was also responsible for furniture, materials, electrical, and design elements. Anova was responsible for project construction and material installation elements.

On March 16, 2022, Shimizu’s invoice totalled $6,649.44. Before this, Mao had paid a $4,000 deposit, and Mao also paid the outstanding balance of $2,649.44.

A second invoice of $3,202.50 was not paid. Mao refused to pay the invoice because she felt that Shimizu didn’t properly assist her with a dispute involving Anova.

The tribunal member found that Shimizu substantially completed her work and was entitled to the $3,202.50.

Regarding the harassment allegations, Mao believed that Shimizu conspired and “coordinated” with Anova against her. Mao also claimed that Anova and Shimizu harassed her for payment for their outstanding services at her workplace. In a matter involving withheld keys, Anova texted Mao that Shimizu had nothing to do with it.

The court found that the harassment and conspiracy allegations were unproven and that Mao was not entitled to compensation for emotional distress.

In the end, Mao owed $3,444.48, including the debt, $66.98 in pre-judgement interest, and $175 in CRT fees.

Amir AliAmir Ali

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