Dispute over parking lot beers, hotel bills, chipping in for pizza, ends up in small claims court

photo supplied DavidUnderwater

Former underwater hockey teammates found themselves on opposite sides of a small claims court case centred around $1,100 worth of hotel bills, beer, food and tournament expenses.

Robert Maisey and Nathan St. Germain – both of whom had played on the Coquitlam-based Rumble Fish underwater hockey team – each represented themselves in a case that wrapped up Tuesday.

Maisey accused St. Germain of owing him $1,077.50 for breaching an agreement to share in team costs.


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Major Money

The Rumble Fish picked one team member dubbed Major Money to collect receipts and calculate how much each player paid and was owed.

According to Major Money’s spreadsheet, Maisey paid upfront for St. Germain’s hotel stay, among other expenses.

In November 2021, a team member emailed St. Germain twice that his share of tournament expenses was $1,002.41. That total matched Major Money’s spreadsheet, according to the ruling.

“It is undisputed that Mr. St. Germain did not reply to the email or pay this amount,” according to Jiang’s ruling.

The total includes referee fees, $12 for a Lyft car ride, and $583 for a three-day hotel stay, among other expenses.

St. Germain told the court he paid for his hotel stay in full, producing a receipt for $90.89.

“There are no purchase details provided and I find it unlikely that this amount would be enough to pay for three nights’ accommodation,” Jiang ruled.

Maisey also sued St. Germain for $16 for food and $26 for alcohol – money outstanding from a Costco bill.

St. Germain said he separately purchased his own food and alcohol.

“. . . there is no evidence he ever told team members he wanted to avoid sharing the costs at issue. Instead, I find it likely he purchased additional food and drink,” Jiang wrote, ordering St. Germain to reimburse Maisey the $42.

Pizza dispute

St. Germain told the court he should not have had to pay for the costs of a pizza as he did not attend the party in which the pizza was served. St. Germain submitted that he “showed up late.”

However, Jiang ruled that he did attend and “likely had pizza.” Jiang awarded Maisey $10 in pizza costs.

Lighthouse dinner

St. Germain acknowledged having a meal at the Lighthouse restaurant but said a teammate “insisted on paying” for his meal.

After finding that claim unsupported by evidence, Jiang ordered St. Germain to pay Maisey $135.

Parking lot beers

In one instance, the members of the Rumble Fish each chipped in $65 between May 1 and Sept. 3, 2021 for parking lot beers.

But while St. Germain acknowledged he didn’t pay the $65, the court found no evidence to support the claim that Maisey paid for St. Germain. That portion of the claim was dismissed.

Including $8 of interest and other fees, the court ordered St. Germain to pay Maisey a total of $1,137.52

A ruined tent and a ban

St. Germain also accused Maisey of “unjustifiably bann[ing]” him from certain facilities. However, Jiang concluded the court had no jurisdiction to address the ban.

St. Germain acknowledged that he agreed to pay some costs but didn’t. However, he also said the team owed him money for a pup tent which he loaned the team and was returned broken. However, as St. Germain did not file a counterclaim, Civil Resolution Tribunal member David Jiang ruled the issue of the tent was not before the court.

Jiang gave “significant weight” to written statements from team members, which he said were consistent and likely neutral.

Underwater hockey

Developed in the 1950s as “octopush,” underwater hockey is played with a three-pound puck in a swimming pool. Except for the fact that there are no goalies, no offside rule and the players wear snorkels, the sport generally resembles hockey.


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