Case Studies

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Dye & Durham Helps Client Save $5 Million

The Challenge

Harper Grey, one of Western Canada’s leading law firms, had a client that was facing a $5 million contamination cleanup bill for a plot of B.C.
land they had once owned. “But when you did not contaminate the land in the first place that bill is not just steep, it’s wrong.” said Monique Sever, a Paralegal with Harper Grey.

The current owner of the land had contacted Harper Grey’s client (the former land owner) for compensation of the cleanup costs. The former owner knew that they had not contaminated the land but needed to prove it.

The Solution

The solution was in a property search using available public records. However, this particular search was not straightforward. The land registry did not contain digital records dating back far enough in time to cover the matter and the land registry naming system is complex. Harper Grey needed expert help; so they contacted Dye & Durham.

etray, Dye & Durham’s search and registry Platform was put to the test. The search was made in stages.

  • First, historical research was done, posing a challenge as the lot that was intact in 1920 had been sold off in parcels over the years.
  • Next, each individual property parcel had to be traced back to their original owners and all subsequent owners dating back decades.

Harper Grey needed to know who owned what piece of land and during what particular time period in order to determine the party responsible for the contamination. The request was time sensitive, as mediation was around the corner. etray’s collaboration tools proved to be invaluable in this process. The client was able to follow the progress of their work order and the Dye & Durham client services team was available around the clock to assist with any questions.

The Outcome

Harper Grey’s client breathed a $5 million sigh of relief. “Once all titles, lots and sections were accurately traced and reviewed, we were able to determine that our client did not in fact own the section of the property that has the contamination. We extracted our client from a potential $5 million settlement for the contaminated land.”

The current owner also assigned land decontamination costs to the right party. “I don’t think we would have been able to have this outcome had we not been able to use Dye & Durham to do this research,” says Monique. “Of course, the lawyers involved did some nifty lawyering. They were also shrewd enough to allow me to work with Dye & Durham on the project, which enabled them to shine.”

“I don’t think we would be able to have this outcome had we not been able to use Dye & Durham to do this research.” Harper Grey LLP
Harper Grey LLP