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HomeBusinessJudge slams the brakes on Richmond father and son duo’s Mercedes lawsuit

Judge slams the brakes on Richmond father and son duo’s Mercedes lawsuit

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Bob Mackin

A B.C. Supreme Court judge has awarded more than $20,000 to Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Canada Corp. in a countersuit against a Richmond father and son.

Mathematician Jinzhong Sun and law student Tong Sun unsuccessfully claimed $49 billion in damages, alleging breach of lease, defamation and loss of a gold watch and pen. The Mercedes Metris passenger van they used in their short-term rentals and furniture importing business was confiscated and the lease cancelled in May 2020 after Vancouver Police seized the vehicle following a crime spree.

Mercedes-Benz Metris passenger van (Mercedes-Benz)

“The police advised that on April 19, 2020, an individual was witnessed smashing vehicle windows at multiple auto dealerships before fleeing from the police in the Metris,” wrote Justice Simon Coval in the Feb. 10 verdict, which was published March 17.

“The police had to tactically intercept the Metris in order to bring it to a stop, including laying out a spike strip and pinning the Metris between police vehicles, causing damage to the Metris. Mr. Tong Sun was the primary suspect…. He was believed to have mental health issues or possibly be on drugs, due to his actions, and the Metris had been delivered to the police department’s civil forfeiture unit for investigation.”

The 1989-born Sun, a.k.a. Heintz Sun, was charged with three counts of mischief to property over $5,000 and dangerous operation of a conveyance. The B.C. Prosecution Service said he has pleaded guilty and sentencing is scheduled for April 29 in Richmond Provincial Court.  

The Suns did not pay the more than $21,000 that was owing on the lease, so Mercedes sold the vehicle in September 2020 through ADESA Auctions Canada’s Richmond location to Pioneer Chrysler for $19,500.

Coval ruled that Mercedes was entitled, under the lease contract, to terminate the lease, sell the vehicle and seek damages for breach of lease terms, which stipulated the vehicle was not to used in an unintended, injurious or unlawful manner.

Tong Sun represented himself at the Feb. 3 hearing. The judge rejected his assertion that he was studying law at King’s College in England when the incident occurred — because Sun admitted to police in a June 4, 2020, email that he was driving the vehicle.

Law Courts Vancouver (Joe Mabel)

“His explanation that it was another person with his identical name that was driving is beyond belief,” Coval wrote. “He provides no evidence of being out of the country at the time of the incident, such as stamps on his passport showing international travel. Instead, he provides only letters confirming his enrolment and residence accommodation at London University. Obviously, this does not establish being there in April 2020, particularly given COVID and online studies.”

The judge also threw out the claim that Tong Sun lacked capacity and/or the contract and its small print were too complicated.

“I recognize that the evidence does suggest the plaintiff, Mr. Tong Sun, may well struggle with certain mental health challenges, and of course I have sympathy for that. But his affidavits, written and oral submissions, and academic record indicate high intelligence far beyond the threshold for legal capacity.”

Coval dismissed the plaintiffs’ claims and granted Mercedes judgment on its counterclaim “in an amount to be determined based on the damages that I have described in these reasons totalling $20,056.84, less a reasonable adjustment for the time value of money.”

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