British Columbia

Husband of woman killed by runaway delivery truck sues Amazon, contractors

The husband of a B.C. woman who was killed by a runaway delivery truck in Surrey two years ago is suing Amazon and two logistics companies for damages.

Amazon has not filed statement of defence against allegations

Parmjit Massuta, an Indian woman wearing a teal-coloured sari, is shown in a family photo.
Parmjit Kaur Massutta was killed by a runaway van in December 2020. (Go Fund Me/Daljit Masutta)

The husband of a B.C. woman who was killed by a runaway delivery truck in Surrey two years ago is suing Amazon and two logistics companies for damages.

Surrey resident Paramjit Kaur Masutta was killed on Dec. 15, 2020 by an unoccupied cargo van near 144 Street and 61A Avenue.

The lawsuit, which was first reported by The Logic, states she pushed her twin daughters out of the way of the approaching vehicle, but was unable to avoid it herself.

She suffered "severe" injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the lawsuit, filed last month in B.C. Supreme Court by Masutta's husband Daljit Singh Masutta and his family.

The suit seeks damages from the truck's driver Jeo Kurian, as well as Amazon and two logistics companies — Foss National Leasing and Damy Logistics. 

The lawsuit alleges Kurian failed to take reasonable steps to avoid the collision, and his employer — either Amazon or the two logistics companies — did not train him properly to do his task.

None of the allegations have been proven in court, and neither the driver nor the companies have filed a statement of defence against the allegations.

A white van stands on a sidewalk behind police caution tape.
A runaway cargo van struck and killed a mother walking with her children in Surrey, B.C., on Dec. 15, 2020. (Shane MacKichan)

Damy provides delivery services for Amazon in the Lower Mainland, with the lawsuit stating Foss owned and leased out the truck to Kurian.

It is unclear if anyone was charged in the incident. Surrey RCMP did not respond to requests for comment about the incident.

CBC News also reached out to Amazon, but they did not respond in time for publication.

Suit alleges truck was illegally parked

According to the lawsuit, Kurian was out of the vehicle, making a delivery when the incident occurred.

It alleges that the delivery truck was parked illegally, with the handbrake off, facing the wrong direction on 144 Street. 

Police had said at the time that the unoccupied truck had rolled into traffic, struck a vehicle, and then moved toward the sidewalk where Masutta was hit.

Masutta had been walking home from school with her daughters, who were eight at the time.

According to the notice of civil claim, she managed to push them both out of the way of the truck, but was "dragged under the Ford" after being hit.

The suit alleges Kurian's employers failed to have the delivery truck equipped with proper braking systems or warning devices.

It also claims they consented to Kurian's use of the truck while knowing (or having the means of knowing) that he was not properly trained in its operation, and that he was driving "in a state of drowsiness or other state of physical or mental impairment."

The lawsuit alleges the unoccupied Ford cargo van involved in the incident was parked illegally and had its handbrake off when it rolled into Massutta. (Shane MacKichan)

The suit seeks damages for, among other things, the loss of "guidance and companionship" that Masutta provided to her family.

A simultaneous suit has also been filed by Masutta's family against ICBC, seeking to cover damages including the funeral costs and counselling costs associated with her death.

The suit alleges that ICBC has "neglected and/or refused to pay" the amount owed to the family after the December 2020 incident.

Those allegations have also not been proven in court.

With files from Yvette Brend