In January 1982, Joe Battista and I founded Murphy Battista – two lawyers, two secretaries, and a part-time bookkeeper. The growth and success of the firm have almost entirely been as a result of doing great work for our clients – who today number in the thousands.
I grew up in Calgary in a LARGE family; I was one of eight children. My father was a doctor and my mother (before she “retired” to have eight children) was a nursing instructor. Growing up I learned how to get along with people and how to deal with many different situations. My father taught my siblings and me that you can only learn if you watch and listen – and this has been invaluable to me as a lawyer. Not surprisingly, I left home with a lot of medical knowledge.
I came out to Vancouver in 1968 to attend UBC. After seven years there, I emerged with a Commerce degree and a Law degree. During the last two years of law school, I worked part-time as an insurance adjuster (for a private pre-ICBC company) and learned how insurance companies operate and how they think.
In 1976 my work as a lawyer began; since then, I have met so many incredible people. My new clients come in the door as a result of some terrible crisis or disaster, and I am continually amazed at their courage and determination. I learn a lot from my clients, from their families, and from the people I come in contact with on their cases.
My medical knowledge and my work during law school as an adjuster provided the perfect training for me to do personal injury cases. My understanding of people and my willingness to watch and listen and learn, has been so important in allowing me to get great results for my client.
In 1999, and in recognition of my court successes, I was awarded the Queen’s Counsel designation given annually by the Attorney General to recognize excellence. Since starting practice in 1976, I have acted on numerous court cases (British Columbia Supreme Court, British Columbia Court of Appeal, and the Supreme Court of Canada) which have either established or changed the law in British Columbia – for the benefit of my clients. Some of these court decisions have been referred to hundreds of times by other judges.
- UBC Faculty of Law, 1975
Disclaimer: The outcome of every legal proceeding will vary according to the facts and unique circumstances in each individual case. References to successful case results where the lawyers at Murphy Battista LLP have acted for clients are not necessarily a guarantee or indicative of future results.
In 2017, Joe Murphy, Q.C. took on the claim of SA from a motor vehicle accident that occurred in 2004. In 2004, SA was sitting in a parked work truck having his lunch when the truck was struck by another vehicle, leaving SA very badly injured. In 2004, the ICBC coverages provided about $350,000 in insurance coverage to SA. Joe argued that SA was entitled to the 2007 ICBC coverage that would provide $1 million to SA, even though the MVA was in 2004. In 2018, an arbitrator agreed that SA was entitled to the $1 million 2007 coverage, and when ICBC tried to appeal that decision, in 2020 BC Supreme Court judge dismissed that appeal – with the final result that SA recovered an additional $650,000.
Read the full decision here.
The court upheld the trial decision, that was in favour of our client, and dismissed the appeal.
Joe Murphy, Q.C. and Brandon Souza acted for the executors and estate of the deceased, Maxine Wilton, who altered her Will by completing two codicils. The defendants, the deceased’s grandchildren, were no longer beneficiaries in the Will after the second codicil was made. The grandchildren challenged that codicil claiming suspicious circumstances surrounding the making of the codicil, that the grandmother lacked the testamentary capacity, and that she was subject to undue influence. The grandmother suffered strokes both before and after the codicil which left the grandchildren out of her will. After a five day trial, the court found the codicil valid and that the grandmother knew exactly what she was doing.
Joe Murphy, Q.C., Kevin Gourlay, and Mike Murphy acted for the plaintiff who was 16 when he was hit by a young woman who was not paying attention while driving on Halloween night in 2008. He suffered a significant traumatic brain injury. Before the accident, he had been an exceptionally gifted young man. Although he remained intelligent and was attending university, he was plagued by fatigue and cognitive difficulties as a result of the accident that would significantly impact his ability to work as an engineer. The Court assessed damages at $3,297,000, including $3M for loss of future earning capacity.
This was an application regarding costs following a 29-day trial in which the plaintiff had been awarded nearly $6,000,000 in damages following a fall at a night club that had resulted in a mild traumatic brain injury. The court concluded that the plaintiff was entitled to her costs from the defendant insurer despite the insurer not being obligated to indemnify the plaintiff for her losses.
Stephen Gibson and Irina Kordic represented the Plaintiff who was in injured pedestrian. In this case, the Defendant drove down a quiet, residential street, intending to pick up the Plaintiff who was standing in the middle of the road. As the Defendant drove towards the Plaintiff, he ultimately and unintentionally struck the Plaintiff with his vehicle. Liability was denied and the Defendant claimed that the Plaintiff was the author of his own misfortune for standing in the middle of the road. Liability was found in favour of the Plaintiff 100% because he reasonably expected the Defendant to stop short of where the Plaintiff was standing. The Plaintiff was likely to require a total knee replacement in his later years as a result of advancing arthritis, but he was retraining in a new profession as a sound engineer. The damages were awarded at $1,196,000.
Joe Murphy, Q.C. was successful on behalf of the firm’s client Ms. Chow in a case where all of the defendants were at fault for causing a motorcycle accident that seriously injured Ms. Chow. The six defendant motorcyclists were travelling at a very high speed and riding abreast across both lanes of the road on which the Plaintiff (Ms. Chow) was travelling on her motorcycle. Although only one defendant actually struck Ms. Chow’s motorcycle, and only three of the six defendants were driving on the wrong side of the road, we successfully argued that all of the defendants were equally at fault for creating the dangerous conditions that led to the accident by reason of their participation in a joint and dangerous activity. Liability was found to rest with all six defendants.
In the News
Joe Murphy, Q.C. Comments on ICBC Changes to Handling of Personal Injury Settlements
January 16, 2019
Joe Murphy, Q.C. spoke with Sonia Sunger on Global News about ICBC changes to its personal injury settlement strategy and explained why ICBC’s position is problematic. ICBC has decided to end the practice of good faith negotiating and is now considering payments based on a new set of criteria even…Continue Reading
Injuries on School Field Trips – How Can You Avoid Your Child Getting Hurt
October 12, 2018
Children love school field trips. They are a chance to get out of the classroom, explore and educate themselves on the world around them, all while enjoying a day with their friends. Often field trips are outdoors and can involve potentially dangerous activities like kayaking, hiking, or swimming, and unfortunately,…Continue Reading
The Importance of Lay Witnesses in Personal Injury Cases
December 18, 2014
The Trial Lawyers of British Columbia recently hosted a full day seminar on Personal Injury Trial Tactics & Tribulations. I had the distinct pleasure of presenting my thoughts on how to identify and develop lay evidence to effectively tell your client’s story at trial. In this blog post, I share a…Continue Reading
The Law Show – September 23 2018: Children’s Injuries on School Trips, The Rise of Distracted Driving, and Minor Injury Claim Cap
The Law Show – July 29 2018: The ICBC Claims Process, Why ICBC Claims are Denied, and the Minor Injury Claim Cap
The Law Show: Ep. 35: Negligence, Liability from School Trips, Importance of Having Proper Insurance
The Law Show: Ep. 10: When to Get Legal Advice and What You Need to Know about ICBC Claims Procedures
The Law Show: Ep. 7: Parental Consent, Car Insurance and Teen Drivers, The Value of a Good Homeowner’s Policy, Limits on Damages for Pain and Suffering and the Importance of Capacity and Elderly Parents
The Law Show: Ep. 5: Why Specialists and Trial Ready Lawyers are Critical for Complex Personal Injury Cases
It is difficult to put into words how much I appreciated all the hard work and expertise that went into making sure my case was successful thanks to Mike Murphy and Joe Murphy. I had two accidents on top of significant existing injuries and would have been completely lost in the system without all the help I got. Everytime I was concerned about something or wasn’t sure if we were doing the right thing Mike made sure I felt safe, confortable, and most importantly that I deserved everything we were going after. Overlapping injuries can be very tricky and hard to separate but they did a great job. Mediation was recommeded and worked very well without the stress of having to go to court. The outcome was far beyond anything I would have imagined and I will be forever grateful to Murphy Battista. Mike was recommended to me from a friend who was badly injured and I would highly recommend them for any case of personal injury for sure. Instead asking for business on TV, they are hard at work on cases if you know what I mean.
I was recommended Murphy Baptista by a family friend and met with Joe Murphy and Kevin Gourlay for a consultation. From the start I was taken seriously and I felt welcome and understood. After suffering a head injury they were both helpful and patient in gathering information and collating my evidence. Kevin and his team, Viginia and Christine, were outstandingly diligent and I am so very appreciative of their help, guidance, honesty and support in my action.
Joe Murphy and Scott Stanley are not only great Lawyers they are truly great people. Over the course of my almost 5 year lawsuit I got to know them fairly well and left with the sense that they actually cared about my well being. They aren’t just doing it for the pay check they are actually trying to make people’s lives better. Great to work with and highly recommend.
5/5 Excellent! Brian Brooke guided us through a difficult process. With Joe and Scott in the background you can’t go wrong. We were able to get a great settlement without having to go through a difficult trial. Brian worked tirelessly and always on course. It is difficult to say in a few words how well he took care of us. Also his team was easy to work with. Personal injury is not an easy field in law. This is their specialty and they proved it.
Joe and Scott took my head injury case when other lawyers either didn’t know how to proceed or didn’t feel confident moving forward with it. They were thorough, organized, detailed, and knowledgeable. Further, they are both kind and compassionate. Last, but not least, they were SUCCESSFUL. 5/5 stars, look no further.
I was involved in a very serious motor vehicle accident that changed my life significantly. My personal injury case went to trial where I was represented by Kevin Gourlay, Joe Murphy, and Mike Murphy. The result of the trial was far better than I, or my lawyers, had expected. Throughout my rehabilitation, my dealings with ICBC, the preparation for my mediation and trial, and the trial itself, Kevin Gourlay and Joe Murphy displayed incredible knowledge, skill, professionalism, and compassion. They maintained excellent communication, always kept me in the loop, and addressed any questions or concerns that I had. I was able to arrange phone conversations at any time and I always felt that I was a top priority of theirs. I always knew that I was in great hands with Murphy Battista, and that allowed me to maintain considerable peace of mind during what would normally be a stressful and unpleasant process. I could not recommend Murphy Battista enough.
I have nothing but praise and admiration for Stephen Gibson and Joe Murphy at Murphy Battista. Their compassion and knowledge of pediatric head injury was instrumental in helping my son and daughter along their 10 & 11 year paths through rehabilitation, assessments and referrals to professionals. They were there to support and encourage us all along the way and feel more like family friends than legal counsel representing them. Highly recommend them and their staff to anyone looking for a professional and dedicated team.
My understanding of people and my willingness to watch and listen and learn, has been so important in allowing me to get great results for my client.