BURNS LAKE, BC - A former sawmill manager of Babine Forest Products, site of a fatal explosion and fire, was awarded $809,000 for a wrongful dismissal lawsuit case concluded on June 29.
The jury awarded Larry Higginson $236,000 in compensation for his dismissal, plus an additional $573,000 in punitive damages. The Vancouver Sun reported that it double the previous largest punitive damage award ever granted in Canada for a wrongful dismissal suit.
Higginson reportedly was dismissed in October of 2009 from the Babine Forest Products mill where he had been employed for 34 years. He argued that he Hampton Affiliates, which purchased the facility in 2006, fired him to avoid having to pay severance.
Two employees were killed and 44 others injured in a January 20 explosion and fire at the Babine Forest Products mill. Hampton Affiliates said any plans to rebuild are contingent on assurance that there will be a sufficient supply of timber to feed the mill.
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