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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Court rules that insurers must “avoid” obscure terms.

On April 20, 2017, Mr. Justice Kent of the BC Supreme Court ruled that vehicle damage arising from a lessee’s arson does not fall within the “conversion exclusion” clause in an ICBC Autoplan Optional Policy, and an innocent lessor may be entitled to coverage.  CIT Financial Ltd. v. Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, 2017 BCSC 641, involved a coverage dispute for the alleged arson of a leased vehicle. The Court was asked to interpret the insured plaintiff’s insurance policy and, in particular, whether coverage for the fire damage to the vehicle was excluded by the...

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Disability insurer fails to force claimant to take irrelevant testing.

On December 16, 2016, a judge of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice dismissed an application by an insurance company for an order compelling a disabled worker to undergo neuropsychological testing. The judge in Woolsey v. Industrial Alliance Insurance and Financial Services Inc., [2016] O.J. No. 6497, 2016 ONSC 7617, found that neuropsychological or cognitive function had not been put at issue and no treatment providers or experts had recommended it. The claimant was a disabled employee who alleged that he was unable to work as an engineering analyst due to neuropathic chest pain which...

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“Reprehensible conduct” not required for special costs.

On January 19, 2017, the BC Supreme Court ordered a long-term disability insurer to pay indemnificatory costs of a trial, after finding that it wrongly denied Noha Tanious her disability benefits. Ms. Tanious, who suffered from multiple sclerosis, obtained an order requiring the insurance company to pay her long-term disability benefits under a disability policy.  At trial, the Court accepted that Ms. Tanious suffered a disability and had been unable to work since 2011.  Ms. Tanious then brought an application seeking solicitor-client costs for the action. In allowing the costs award, the...

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Manulife tried to quash website, and lost.

“… there is public benefit in having Mr. Fishman at liberty to act in litigation adverse to Manulife…” – David Allsebrook, CIRA panelist, September 16, 2016 After losing a protracted court application to disqualify me from acting against them on behalf of one of my clients, The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company (“Manulife”) then tried unsuccessfully to limit my ability to advertise the fact that I am able to represent people with claims againts Manulife. Following Manulife’s failed application in McMyn v. Manufacturer’s Life Insurance Company, 2015 BCSC 2205, I...

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Filing inconsistent pleadings is an “abuse of process”.

On August 31, 2016, a judge of the BC Supreme Court criticized a long-standing ICBC tactic and declared a mistrial. Madam Justice Gropper found that is is an abuse of process for a defendant sued by multiple parties from a single motor vehicle accident to admit liability in one lawsuit but deny in the other “where there are no facts to distinguish the two”. In Glover v. Leakey, 2016 BCSC 1624, the defendant was involved in an accident which injured two passengers. One passenger sued, liability was admitted by ICBC, and the case settled. The second passenger sued and liability was denied....

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