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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Insurer’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...

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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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ICBC punished for fraud allegation.

On March 1, 2016, the BC Supreme Court ordered ICBC to pay $350,000 in punitive damages for malicious prosecution after alleging that the plaintiff acted fraudulently following a pedestrian collision. In Arsenovski v. Bodin, 2016 BCSC 359, the plaintiff was walking with her husband when he was struck by a vehicle.  The plaintiff was not struck by the vehicle but did fall down and suffer some modest injuries during the incident and she reported this to ICBC.  Specifically she told ICBC that “the last thing I remember was stepping off the curb to cross the street.   I don’t know how far we had...

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Court of Appeal confirms that insurer acted in bad faith.

On November 17, 2015, the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal upheld awards of both aggravated and punitive damages against a long-term disability insurer, but reduced the aggravated damages to $90,000, and reduced the punitive damages to $60,000, in Industrial Alliance v Brine, 2015 NSCA 104. On June 18, 2014, the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia held, at 2014 NSSC 219, that the long-term disability insurer Industrial Alliance Insurance and Financial Services Inc. (“Industrial”) must account for years of unfair treatment of its insured, Bruce Brine. The court ordered Industrial to pay...

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Manulife guilty of fraudulent concealment.

A judge of the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench found The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company (“Manulife”) guilty of fraudulent concealment in Atchison v. Manufacturers Life Insurance Company. The trial judgment is found at: Atchison v Manulife, 2002 ABQB 1121. Ms. Atchison’s husband was covered by a group life insurance policy with Manulife. He applied and paid for “excess” life insurance, in addition to his group coverage. The excess policy was issued, with coverage effective one month prior to his death in a boating accident. Manulife paid the...

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