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Judge rejects student lawsuit filed against UVic over pandemic parking fees

UVic did not contractually have to refund parking regardless of pandemic, judge finds
A University of Victoria student filed a class-action lawsuit against the university over parking fees that weren’t refunded when the school closed because of the pandemic, however, the case was dismissed based on what the judge referred to as clear contractual provisions. (Black Press Media file photo)

A class-action lawsuit that was filed against the University of Victoria for parking fees not refunded when in-person classes halted due to the pandemic was recently dismissed.

The suit was filed by student Aaron Timothy Elsser who sought a partial refund on a parking pass after the school moved to online learning in March 2020.

On Sept. 24, 2019, Elsser purchased an annual parking permit for $568.05 which allowed him to park on campus from September 2019 to Aug. 31, 2020.

When the campus closed in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, UVic took the position that it would not issue partial refunds to annual parking permit holders.

According to a court document, Elsser said that he purchased the parking permit for the purpose of attending the university campus to learn and study.

He argued that because the school went from in-person to remote learning due to the pandemic, there was no reason for him or other class members to park on campus and that the parking contract was breached.

When UVic sought to dismiss the action, Elsser argued that it was too soon to be dismissed because the university had not provided documents regarding its decision to retain the fees from parking permits and several other supporting documents like purchase patterns and the value of permits.

However, a clear contractual provision regarding refunds at UVic states that for the first four months pro-rated refunds would not be available for any reason, and following four months, no refunds would be available for any reason.

“Given my findings regarding the Parking Requirement Term and the Good Faith Term, I am satisfied that the plaintiff’s claim that the parking contract was breached has no chance of success. Accordingly, the breach of contract action is dismissed,” said B.C. Supreme Court Justice Catherine Murray in the court document.

ALSO READ: Student files class action lawsuit against University of Victoria over parking fees

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