Manulife loses “want of prosecution” application.

On May 30, 2011, the BC Supreme Court decided that Manufacturers Life Insurance Company (“Manulife”), successor to the Aetna Life Insurance Co. of Canada (“Aetna”) was unsuccessful in its application for an order dismissing an applicant’s action for want of prosecution. The decision is reported at: Toor v Aetna Life Ins. Co., 2011 BCSC 691. In 1975 the applicant, Harbans Toor purchased a policy of long-term disability insurance from Excelsior Life and the policy was eventually acquired by Manulife. In the action, Mr. Toor claimed, among other things, for benefits under that...

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The significant role of expert evidence.

When presenting a claim at trial dealing with future loss it is vital to have appropriate expert evidence to justify sought damages.  Failure to do so can result in a dismissal of the sought damages even if they are unopposed.  Reasons for judgement released May 6, 2011 highlight the importance of medico-legal evidence in personal injury trials. In Moore v. Briggs the plaintiff suffered a fractured skull (fractured left temporal bone) and a brain injury in a 2003 assault. The plaintiff sued those he claimed were responsible for the assault.  One of the defendant’s did not respond to the...

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Punitive damages explained.

Punitive damages are particularly prevalent in the USA where they are often left to the discretion of a group of citizens, a jury, who may impose them when they determine that a defendant’s conduct has been uncivilized or to deter other from acting in such an underhanded way, to improve, generally, law and order, or simply to reward the plaintiff for his financial risks in litigating and enforcing the law. Where awarded, they are an exception to the rule that damages are to compensate not to punish. The exact threshold of punitive damages varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In...

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Aggravated damages explained.

The Supreme Court of Canada decision in Fidler vs. Sun Life, released on June 29, 2006, clarified the legal principles for awarding aggravated damages in Canada. Facts of the Case Ms. Fidler was a bank receptionist who, at the age of 36, became ill and was eventually diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. She began receiving LTD benefits from Sun Life in 1991. The benefits were terminated in 1998, based to a large extent on video surveillance which Sun Life felt detailed activities inconsistent with her claim that she was incapable of performing light or sedentary work....

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Structured settlements explained.

In larger personal injury claims, a structured settlement may be available to you. You must negotiate the structured settlement before judgment or during the settlement process. After judgment, the option of a structured settlement is no longer available. A structured settlement, in simple terms, is an annuity purchased at the time of the settlement, which provides a stream of income over a certain period of time. The significant advantage to a structured settlement is that you receive a certain stream of income tax-free over a given period of time. Also, the principal of the investment and...

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