It’s not every day that a court orders a structured settlement despite a guardian’s wish for a lump sum. But such situations do happen as the courts and legislation recognize some forms of long-term payments, such as annuities, as a guarantee that the injured party will always have some income.
“It raises all kinds of interesting issues, on money management particularly,” says Craig Brown, who acted for Glenda Ann Melvin, guardian for her son Thomas, in Melvin v. Ontario (Correctional Services).
“The whole settlement of the case was empowering his mother to take care of him. The idea is to help your client live a life of dignity and value and not run out of money”.
In 1997, Melvin was serving time at the district jail in Thunder Bay, Ontario, when two fellow inmates assaulted him. He suffered serious injuries, including a closed head injury. The parties settled the action against the province at mediation in 2012. Glenda initially agreed to a structured settlement but then changed her mind.
For Brown, the concept of a lump sum presented a conflict. His duty, he adds, was to both the guardian and her injured son.