Victims treated at the scene when an Aldergrove deck collapsed on April 19 ranged in age from 15 to 83. (Shane MacKichan photo)

Victims treated at the scene when an Aldergrove deck collapsed on April 19 ranged in age from 15 to 83. (Shane MacKichan photo)

Owners of Aldergrove deck that collapsed during wedding deny negligence

The company that rented out the home says the guests, Township, and builders are at fault

  • Jan. 1, 2020 12:00 a.m.

The company that rented out the Aldergrove home where a deck collapse injured dozens in 2019 has claimed it’s actually the injured guests, previous owners, and Langley Township who are to blame.

Amaroo Estate Ltd. arranged to rent the Aldergrove house in the 5800 block of 268th Street to Jaswinder Garcha for a gather before the wedding of his daughter, to take place over a week in late April of 2019.

On April 19, dozens of people were standing on a second-storey deck attached to the home when it suddenly gave way. Almost 40 were injured, with two in critical condition shortly after the collapse, and about 11 hospitalized with varying levels of injuries several days later.

In September, lawsuits began flying as various injured people sued Amaroo Estate and various others. Lawsuits also named the Township of Langley and various previous owners and builders of the home.

READ MORE: Lawsuits filed over Aldergrove balcony collapse

None of the claims has been proved in court.

According to documents filed by Amaroo Estate and its three directors, Gurdeep Sahota, Balvinder Sahota, and Suhkwant Singh Takhar, the house is owned by Gurdeep Sahota and Kamaljit Sahota. Kamaljit is not a director of Amaroo Estate.

Amaroo Estate claims, in a response to one of the numerous lawsuits, that the rental agreement banned “outdoor events” on the site to avoid bothering the neighbours, and said that “the owner shall not be responsible for any accident, injuries or death occurring to the tenant, or guests of the tenant, on this residential property or premises.”

Amaroo also denies that the deck was structurally unfit or dangerous, and the statement says Amaroo could not have known that the house “would be used by Jaswinder Garcha and his guests… in a manner that was unsafe…”

The plaintiff in the lawsuit was negligent for participating in activities involving a large group of guests that they should have known would be unsafe on the deck, says the response.

The Township is also at fault, says the response, saying the municipality was negligent for “failing to properly inspect the deck.”

The John Doe named as the deck’s builder is responsible for building the deck without permits, the response says. Garcha himself, who rented the property for a family wedding, should have supervised and taken precautions, the response says.

Garcha has denied claims he is responsible in his own legal filings, which describe how he was given a tour of the site in August of 2018.

Garcha claims that he was told that the site had previously been rented for Indo-Canadian weddings, and that he was given no warnings about the deck. He noted that a renter has no responsibility to inspect a premises for safety.

The Township has already filed documents with the court saying the deck was constructed illegally, without permits, and that the rental business for the house was also not licensed.

Previous owners of the property, of whom there are several, are to blame, the document says.

The Amaroo statement of claim names a “John Doe” as the architect and builder of the home, including the deck.

According to other documents filed in various court cases, the deck was added sometime after the home had been built.

More than 20 lawsuits have been filed against the owners and renters of the property as well as against various others since September.

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Langley Advance Times