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Club Vancouver fire in court

Questions of liability for the 2003 fire that destroyed the Club Vancouver bathhouse and Ms T’s Cabaret are finally set to land in court.

Donna Thomason is suing Mark James Management, Lotus Hotel Ltd, Lotus Holdings Ltd and Reimut Leider for loss of property, loss of business opportunity, anxiety, emotional upset and costs.

Thomason’s statement of claim alleges Deborah Lynn Strate leased space in the building from the defendants and that, in contravention of her tenancy agreement, Strate “allowed the cooking process to become out of control,” which caused the fire.

The suit argues that Leider and the property management firm had a “responsibility to ensure the property was properly protected from risk of fire,” but that there was inadequate fire safety equipment on hand.

An amended statement of defence denies Thomason’s claims. It argues that Strate did not lease in the building. It denies that Leider was an employee of the management company–rather, it says, he was an “independent contractor retained by Lotus Holdings.”

The defence argues that neither the Lotus Hotel nor Mark James occupied the property or owed a duty to the tenants or the property of the tenants at the time of the blaze. And, if Lieder did commit any acts or omissions–none of which are admitted–they did not lead to the fire. The defendants further deny Thomason “suffered loss and damage as alleged.”

The case is scheduled to appear before BC Supreme Court Justice Nicole Garson, Jan 15.