Stock photo

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Pair’s lawsuit dismissed against Fraser Valley soccer association and churches

Judge in Abbotsford calls claims against 14 defendants ‘an abuse of the court’s process’

A Surrey mother and son who sued the Fraser Valley Christian Soccer Association (FVCSA) and several churches and individuals – including a Langley Member of Parliament – have been prohibited from filing any more lawsuits in B.C. provincial court.

Judge Kenneth Skilnick ruled Oct. 19 in Abbotsford provincial court that Morris and Gerarda (Gaya) Klos cannot begin any new proceedings unless they receive permission from the courts.

The ruling comes after the pair sought more than $30,000 in damages from 14 organizations and individuals. Skilnick dismissed all their claims, except one, and ordered that each defendant be reimbursed their $50 court filing fee.

According to court documents, the pair’s largest demand was for $16,000 from the Abbotsford-based FVCSA after the organization terminated Morris’s seasonal work as a referee after 15 years.

The pair stated in their notice of civil claim that Morris was dismissed from his role “in front of an audience, publicly, at a playoff game” in Abbotsford.

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He said he was initially denied a hearing, and was “then offered a hearing and surreptitiously (the association) called police upon his attendance, resulting in further public shaming.”

Morris refereed approximately 15 soccer games per year and was paid $60 to $70 per game, the court documents state.

He sought damages for wrongful dismissal, saying he had been an employee of the FVCAS, but the judge disagreed.

“As a general rule, persons who officiate sports for non-professional leagues are not considered to be employees of those leagues,” Skilnick said.

The mother and son also sued five Maranatha and Canadian Reformed churches in Langley, Aldergrove, Abbotsford and Yarrow for what they said was the churches’ “refusal to intervene, public shaming” in Morris’s dismissal from the FVCSA.

Some of the individuals named in the lawsuit are members of those churches.

Morris also claimed that he was denied participation in the “Lord’s Supper Celebration” at one of the churches and that he was “forced to sit in a public display of discipline” that was shared online.

Morris sought an order requiring the churches and individuals to provide a “video apology” and that any money ordered to be paid by the churches be paid to Revenue Canada and that their charitable status be suspended for one year.

Also named in the lawsuit was Langley-Aldergrove MP Tako Van Popta, for whom Morris was seeking a court order to have him go on an “escorted prison tour.”

According to the court documents, Morris worked for Corrections Canada more than a decade ago.

Another claim listed in the lawsuit relates to a dispute over a rental agreement.

Most of the claims were dismissed by Skilnick because he said they did not identify any legal wrongdoing. He said the claims also needlessly took up the defendants’ time to file a reply, pay the filing fee and attend court appearances.

“The time utilized in court to address an insubstantial claim is time that could be utilized for more deserving cases, such as those involving the future of children in care or criminal cases that might otherwise be dismissed for delay,” Skilnick said.

“To require defendants in these cases to do all of this us response to a claim that has no chance of success is not only unfair, it is also vexatious and is an abuse of the court’s process.”

Skilnick allowed only one of the pair’s claims to proceed – against a real estate company in relation to the sale of a home that they say was undervalued and for which they are suing for almost $10,000.

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