Confidentiality clauses – why insurers love them, and why they should be abolished.

Most of my cases settle, often at mediation. Typically the insurer will bring a “standard” form of release to the mediation for my client to sign. If not, when the insurance company’s lawyer sends me the cheque it will be accompanied by a form of release which my client must sign in order to receive the settlement funds. In either case, the release will always contains something not usually discussed – a confidentiality clause. A confidentiality clause seeks to prohibit the parties to a settlement from disclosing the settlement terms and sometimes more. Confidentiality raises numerous...

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Insurance company to stand trial for bad faith negotiations.

On May 17, 2018, the Manitoba Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal from an insurance company’s unsuccessful application for summary judgment to dismiss a claim brought by its insured. In 3746292 Manitoba Ltd. v. Intact Insurance Co., 2018 MBCA 59, the insured was the owner of a mixed-use property in downtown Winnipeg consisting of residential apartments and commercial space. In 2010, an accidental fire caused significant damage. A dispute arose over the cost of repairs and the amount of a co-insurance penalty. The parties negotiated a settlement, and the insured property owner signed a...

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Car garage does not owe duty to drunk teenager injured in stolen car.

On May 11, 2018, the Supreme Court of Canada  ruled that a commercial car garage did not owe a duty of care to a person who was injured in a car he had stolen from the garage. In Rankin (Rankin’s Garage & Sales) v. J.J., J.J., a teenager, suffered a catastrophic brain injury in a motor vehicle collision. He sued Rankin’s Garage & Sales, among other parties, for negligence because the car that he and another teenager stole from the garage had been left unlocked with the keys in the ashtray. At trial, the jury found multiple parties were found liable for J.J.’s injuries, which occurred...

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Manulife to pay benefits to brain-injured man, after a long battle.

On April 19, 2018, Ontario’s highest court ordered Manulife to pay long-term disability benefits to a man who suffered a traumatic brain injury and a severe back injury during a company-sponsored event on April 16, 2005. In  MacIvor v. Pitney Bowes Inc., [2018] O.J. No. 2105, 2018 ONCA 381, the Ontario Court of Appeal (“ONCA”), reversed a trial decision and found for Lenard MacIvor. Mr. MacIvor suffered a traumatic brain injury and a significant musculoskeletal injury during a company-sponsored event in Costa Rica. Mr. MacIvor, who worked at Pitney Bowes at the time, was...

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ICBC assessed costs for “improper act”.

On February 20, 2018, the BC Supreme Court assessed costs against ICBC in Garayt v. Deneumoustier, 2018 BCSC 295, for failing to abide by “very clear case law”. By way of background, when a lawyer in British Columbia receives trust funds a $15 “trust administration fee” must be assessed. For a description of the fee program, click  here.  This is a mandatory assessment. So, when a plaintiff retains a lawyer to resolve a dispute with ICBC this fee needs to be paid.  If the plaintiff is successful, ICBC ought to indemnify this fee as a disbursement.  They typically try...

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