Baseball volunteers embroiled in lawsuit

A civil suit alleging the White Rock South Surrey Baseball Association failed to adhere to its own rules when it sanctioned two volunteers for “knowingly breaking rules” has been filed in B.C. Supreme Court.

According to the notice of claim, John Hogg and Graham Edwards are seeking an order quashing the sanctions, which revoke their ability to volunteer with the association for two years. The men also want findings of misconduct expunged.

“The plaintiffs seek a declaration that there has been an omission, defect, error or irregularity in the conduct of the affairs of the defendant,” the claim states.

The sanctions were issued by the association in late January; appeals by both Hogg and Edwards were dismissed mid-March; the civil claim was filed April 14.

The association has yet to file a response. However, an email distributed Sunday and directing recipients to a website with further details claims the sanctions stemmed from actions last summer that effectively eliminated the 12-year-old White Rock all-star team’s chances of advancing to provincial and national championships.

The association executive Tuesday posted an online notice describing the email as “unauthorized.” The same notice states efforts are underway to resolve the matter: “Over the past year, the executive has considered the Hogg Edwards matter, levied a penalty and is currently responding to a court action.”

Asked for comment, representatives of the association requested Peace Arch News not report on the matter at this time.

Hogg’s and Edwards’ lawyer, Janet Winteringham, said Wednesday she has asked the association to respond to the statement of claim by June 13. Winteringham said it is unfortunate the dispute has gone this far and she is hopeful the matter can be resolved. Hogg and Edwards “exhausted all that they could internally” before turning to the courts, she noted.

Hogg declined to comment on the allegations that led to the sanctions. He said while the situation has been “extremely hard for a lot of people,” he remains hopeful an informal resolution can be reached.

“One of the goals here is to ensure that there is a fair, independent and transparent process that people have access to, and that has not been afforded in this case,” Hogg said. “Hopefully, we can all get through this in a way that we’re all stronger at the end of it.”

Hogg and Edwards are also seeking special, general, aggravated and punitive damages.

A parent petition is calling for association directors to hold a general meeting to explain what has transpired to date.

 

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