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Richmond pawn shop sues upstairs restaurant for 15 floods, toxic mould

Property damage put Kimberlee J. Diamonds & Loan out of business
Happy Valley Village Restaurant in Richmond allegedly used grease traps that were too small

Richmond's Happy Valley Village Restaurant allegedly caused 15 floods, which resulted in water damage and toxic mould at the downstairs pawn shop Kimberlee J. Diamonds & Loan between 2019 and February 2023, according to a lawsuit that the pawn shop filed earlier this month. 

The suit seeks an unspecified amount in damages from restaurant owner Grand Red Lantern Restaurant Ltd., landowner New Harmony International Investment Ltd. and the City of Richmond. It alleges that New Harmony's maintenance was negligent and that the City of Richmond inspected the restaurant's grease traps but did not issue any bylaw violations. 

Problems started on Oct. 31, 2019, when the first flood took place.

"The floods were a result of both the negligence of New Harmony in the maintenance of plumbing at Unit 150 (the pawn shop,) and the grease traps overflowing from the restaurant," the pawn shop said in its notice of civil claim.

"At all times material, Red Lantern and the restaurant were using grease traps that were not the appropriate size for the restaurant."

The lawsuit says that the restaurant was directly above the store, at 8080 Leslie Road. 

Liquid came from the ceiling of the store, flooding it and causing damage on that fateful Hallowe'en night in 2019, according to the lawsuit. The same thing then allegedly happened twice in 2020, six times in 2021, three times in 2022 and three times in 2023, up until the final flood, on Feb. 9. 

"Each subsequent flood since the first flood is a result of issues from the previous flood not being properly remedied by the defendants, and thus constitutes a continuing nuisance," the pawn shop said in its lawsuit.

As a result of the grease traps and floods, toxic mould grew at the store, forcing it to permanently close, according to the court document. 

This allegedly caused a range of business losses, including clean-up costs, business losses and lost inventory.

The defendants have yet to file statements of defence. 

BIV phoned the restaurant and the man who answered identified himself as the restaurant's owner, Joji Yan. BIV asked in the phone call and in a follow-up email if he had any comment on the claims in the lawsuit and Yan did not respond. 

None of the allegations has been proven in court. 

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