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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ICBC loses claim of privilege over surveillance.

On August 2, 2016, a judge of the BC Supreme Court reversed a master’s order as “an error in law” and ordered ICBC to provide an investigative report and video to the plaintiff, Desiree Nadine Oates. In Oates v. Burton, 2016 BCSC 1428, Ms. Oates was injured in a motor vehicle accident and sued for damages. After retaining a lawyer she applied for disability benefits from ICBC, following which ICBC ordered surveillance. In the context of her injury lawsuit, Ms. Oates sought production of the surveillance and the investigator’s report but ICBC refused, arguing that the...

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A court won’t force a plaintiff to give “consent”.

On June 27, 2016, a master of the BC Supreme Court found that it is not appropriate for a Court to order a plaintiff to sign a consent form when attending a court ordered independent medical exam. In Gill v. Wal-Mart Canada Corporation, 2016 BCSC 1176, the plaintiff sued the defendant for personal injuries after a slip and fall incident.  In the course of the lawsuit the plaintiff agreed to be examined by a physician of the defendant’s choosing but refused to sign a consent form the physician required.  The defendant asked the Court to order the plaintiff to sign the form; the application...

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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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Use social media at your peril.

On June 7, 2016, a judge of the BC Supreme Court rejected claimed damages in a personal injury lawsuit due, in part, to concerns about the plaintiff’s credibility arising out of Facebook photos entered as evidence at trial. In Brennan v. Colinders, 2016 BCSC 1026, the plaintiff was involved in a 2012 motor vehicle accident for which the defendants admitted fault. The plaintiff claimed that the accident caused chronic problems which continued up to the time of trial. The judge rejected this claim, finding that the collision-related injuries had resolved. In awarding $20,000 in non-pecuniary...

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Court punishes defendants for not making admissions.

On May 25, 2016, the BC Supreme Court found the defendants at fault for a motor vehicle accident, and ordered that the defendants pay double costs for an “unreasonable” refusal to make admissions of facts sought in a notice to admit. In Ceperkovic v. MacDonald, 2016 BCSC 939, the defendants were sued for damages arising out of an accident involving three motor vehicles.  Prior to trial the defendants were served with a Notice to Admit seeking admission of various facts.  The defendants did not admit all of these facts requiring ultimate proof at trial. In finding the refusal to...

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