'A true blowout': Canadian-Chinese entrepreneur awarded no damages after losing sea view in Discovery Bay
A flat owner has lost her case against the Discovery Bay developer she accuses of depriving her of a sea view as a judge concluded the owner could not prove she suffered any tangible loss, according to a High Court ruling.
Yang Dandan, a successful Canadian-Chinese entrepreneur, failed in her attempt to claim damages from Hong Kong Resort Company and was ordered to pay its legal costs.
After learning the judgment, Yang said she could understand that the developer must win in order to prevent tens of other Chiantiresidents to pursue him in the court.
"In any truly democratic and lawful country it would never happen that someone can be allowed to use word games to talk consumers into making purchasing decisions.
"The fact that the judge even considered the sales brochure completely normal rather than misleading is a true blowout to me," Yang added.
She said she would discuss with her legal team about the next step.
Earlier, Yang told the court the developer provided false sales information that misled her into thinking future projects would not block the view from a duplex flat at the top floor in one of the blocks at the Chianti.
She bought the flat in 2007, only to find the Amalfi, a new project constructed in 2011, blocking her sea view and causing the value of her property to drop, the court heard earlier.
In his judgment yesterday, Deputy Judge Kent Yee Kai-siu wrote: "While I do not doubt the genuineness of her frustration with the loss of the sea view, which is very minor to my mind, I am of the firm view that her claim is without sound evidential and legal basis."
Yee found Yang was unable to show she had been misled by the developer or had suffered any loss after the view was blocked.
He also found, in a visit to her flat, that just part of the sea view was blocked.
The court previously heard Yang paid HK$17.2 million for the 1,667 sq ft flat as an investment.
She said she accepted information in a sales brochure that indicated a vacant site next to the Chianti would be used for a "garden house residential development" and a "mid-rise residential development".
She also confirmed the information with a sales representative before making the purchase.
But Yee noted the brochure carried disclaimers in small print saying "all information and photos are for reference only".
"The disclaimers in the brochure were so clear that a reasonable reader of the brochure even with lesser commercial and education background could not possibly regard the Amalfi's description as any definitive statement of fact," the judge wrote.
He said Yang got the identity of the salesperson wrong and was also confused about the location of the show flat, making her argument unreliable.
If the sea view was a genuine concern, Yee said, Yang should not rely only on the brochure's information but should check the outline zoning plan of the site.