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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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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Insurer ordered to pay for emergency surgery while travelling.

On July 28, 2017, the Supreme Court of BC ordered an insurance company to pay for a British Columbia man’s emergency heart surgery while travelling. The court held, in Fletcher v. Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company of Canada, 2017 BCSC 1330, that the medical expenses Paul Fletcher incurred while outside of Canada were not excluded by the policy. The court made this finding after noting that Mr. Fletcher was advised by his treating physicians that: a) his condition was stable; b) he was safe to travel; and c) further testing could wait until after his travels. The disputed claim...

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Surveillance prohibited while attending medical examination.

On June 28, 2017, a judge of the BC Supreme Court prohibited a defendant from conducting video surveillance of a plaintiff who is compelled to attend a defence medical examination in a personal injury lawsuit. Rule 7-6(1) of  the Supreme Court Civil Rules allows compulsory examinations where the physical or mental condition of a person is in issue in an action. For many years defendants, or their insurers, have used these examinations as opportunities to conduct covert surveillance of plaintiffs in personal injury and disability lawsuits. This practice was considered by Mr. Justice Thompson,...

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Expert evidence not always needed when common sense prevails.

On June 23, 2017, the BC Supremc Court considered the use, and overuse, of expert evidence in personal injury litigation. Truax v. Hyrb, 2017 BCSC 1052, was an action arising out of a motor vehicle accident in which fault was at issue.  The defendant brought an application seeking a dismissal of the lawsuit and argued that in failing to adduce expert engineering evidence an adverse inference should be drawn against the plaintiff.  In rejecting this argument, Mr. Justice Dley provided the following comments about the role of expert evidence: [20]         The defence argues that the failure by...

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Manulife pays $69 million to settle class action.

After almost eight years of litigation, a securities class action against Canada’s largest life insurance company settled for $69 million. In  Ironworkers Ontario Pension Fund v Manulife Financial, 2017 ONSC 2669, the Ontario court approved the payment of honoraria to the representative plaintiffs, the payment of class counsel contingency-based legal fees, and the payment of a preliminary commission to a third-party litigation funder. Background Manulife Financial Corporation (“MFC”) is the largest life insurance company in Canada. In early 2004, MFC added several new guaranteed...

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