“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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Insurance company’s claims handling to stand trial.

On August 31, 2016, an Ontario judge ordered that a law suit against an insurance company, based on alleged mishandling of the insured’s mother’s accident benefit claim, is allowed to proceed. The judge found that it was not “plain and obvious” that the law suit was certain to fail. In Watkins v. Western Assurance Co., 2016 ONSC 2574,  the insured’s mother was involved in a car accident when the insured was 15 years old. The insured was not present at the accident. The insured’s first law suit claimed damages arising out of the insurance company’s handling of his mother’s...

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Insurer must produce internal manuals in bad faith claim.

On August 12, 2016, the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench confirmed that in an action for bad faith denial of disability benefits the insurer must produce details of its internal claims handling procedures to the plaintiff. In Alexander v Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, 2016 ABQB 445, the plaintiff conducted an examination for discovery of a representative of Sun Life who explained that Sun Life makes an online databank of reference material available to its case managers to assist them in performing their job duties. She further explained that the reference material is broken down...

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Insurer may be a party to a tort claim.

On June 22, 2016, a judge of the BC Supreme Court held that a plaintiff’s insurer may be added as a party to a tort action where the tortfeasor’s insurance limits will likely be insufficient, and the plaintiff intends to seek compensation under its insurer’s “underinsured” liability coverage. The case, MacPherson v. White, 2016 BCSC 1151, arose out of a head-on collision between two motor vehicles; one driven by the plaintiff Joseph MacPherson, the other was driven by the defendant, Dallas White. The plaintiff suffered serious injuries in the accident, and the defendant’s...

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