The legal battle between owner and insurer over a missing diamond-studded statue continues its long, protracted journey.
In December, a B.C. Supreme Court registrar ordered Lloyd’s Underwriters to honour a claim from Ron Shore’s company — Forgotten Treasures International — for the golden eagle statue which was allegedly stolen along with a silver decoy in May 2016.
On Wednesday, a B.C. Supreme Court judgment overturned that decision, allowing the insurer to challenge Shore’s claim.
The golden eagle, which weighed eight kilograms and was encrusted with 763 diamonds, was supposed to be part of an international treasure hunt to raise money for cancer research.
Shore told reporters the bird was worth $5 million, but the initial notice of civil claim said the bird’s value was $930,450.
On May 29, 2016, after an event in Delta, B.C., the eagle and a smaller silver one were stolen from Shore as he was putting them back into his car.
The eagles have never been found.
The insurer says one of the terms of its policy was that the eagles had to be accompanied by a designated employee or representative of Shore’s at all times other than when deposited in a bank safe or vault. It claims that at the time of the mugging, Shore was alone and therefore breached the policy.
Thus began a legal battle, with Shore’s company filing a notice of civil claim against the insurers. Eventually, after missed deadlines and procedural delays, Shore was granted a default judgment in December against the insurer.
Justice Robin Baird overturned that ruling on Wednesday.
Baird said the insurers hadn’t willfully and deliberately failed to respond to Shore’s civil claim. He said it appeared the correspondence between the two parties showed the insurers would be mounting a solid defence.
He has given the insurers 21 days to file a response to Shore’s civil claim.