ICBC Law

BC Injury Law and ICBC Claims Blog

Erik MagrakenThis Blog is authored by British Columbia ICBC injury claims lawyer Erik Magraken. Erik is a partner with the British Columbia personal injury law-firm MacIsaac & Company. He restricts his practice exclusively to plaintiff-only personal injury claims with a particular emphasis on ICBC injury claims involving orthopaedic injuries and complex soft tissue injuries. Please visit often for the latest developments in matters concerning BC personal injury claims and ICBC claims

Erik Magraken does not work for and is not affiliated in any way with the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC). Please note that this blog is for information only and is not claim-specific legal advice.  Erik can only provide legal advice to clients. Please click here to arrange a free consultation.

Archive for October, 2012

"Fat Bottomed Girls": When Free Speech and Alleged Witness 'Victimization' Collide in the BC Supreme Court

October 31st, 2012

This is a little off topic but thought this may be of interest for my readers.

Trials are a matter of public record and Canada’s open-court principle can sometimes create legitimate privacy concerns for litigants.  The BC Supreme Court published reasons for judgement today addressing such a concern.

In today’s case (Mainstream Canada v. Staniford) a blog entry was posted during a trial referring to two witnesses who testified that “It is not clear if they both cycled to the courtroom – but there were echoes of Queen’s classic 1978 hit “Fat-Bottomed Girls” playing as they both took the stand.

The Plaintiff’s lawyer brought an application for a direction that the Defendant “refrain from making postings referring to witnesses in any derogatory or disparaging fashion that may have the effect of victimizing a witness or witnesses who are testifying, or may have testified, at this trial.”  Madam Justice Adair refused to make such an order but in doing so provided the following reminder to the litigants:

[7]             I am going to quote from Lord Denning’s judgment in the case of Attorney-General v. Butterworth, [1962] 3 All E.R. 326 (C.A.).  This is a decision of the English Court of Appeal.  It is from 1962.  But in my view it is still well worth quoting, and well worth reminding counsel, parties and those present in this courtroom, concerning issues relating to the administration of justice and the appropriate and fair treatment of witnesses who come forward, often under the compulsion of a subpoena, to give evidence and perform their civic duty in a trial.

[8]             Lord Denning says (in the context of ruling on an application that individuals be found in contempt of court), at p. 329:

For there can be no greater contempt than to intimidate a witness before he gives his evidence or to victimize him afterwards for having given it.  How can we expect a witness to give his evidence freely and frankly, as he ought to do, if he is liable, as soon as the case is over, to be punished for it by those who dislike the evidence he had given?  After he has honestly given his evidence, is he to be liable to be dismissed from his office, or to be sent to Coventry [a reference that perhaps had more resonance in 1962 than it does now, but essentially meaning banished or punished] simply because of that evidence which he has given?  I decline to believe that the law of England permits him to be so treated.  If this sort of thing could be done in a single case with impunity, the news of it would soon get round.  Witnesses in other cases would be unwilling to come forward to give evidence, or, if they did come forward, they would hesitate to speak the truth, for fear of the consequences.

[9]             Further down at p. 329, Lord Denning says:

I have no hesitation in declaring that the victimization of a witness is a contempt of court whether it be done whilst the proceedings are still pending or after they have finished.

[10]         In my view, it is clear from Lord Denning’s remarks that the court takes the intimidation or the victimization of a witness extremely seriously and is willing to use its contempt powers to punish that conduct.

[11]         Having said that, in the light of the submissions made by Mr. Sutherland concerning the live issues in this case relating to the conduct of Mr. Staniford – his conduct of the case inside and outside the court – I am not going to give the direction sought by Mr. Wotherspoon.  However, my expectation is that the parties and those present in this courtroom will take very seriously Lord Denning’s comments which I have read out and which I adopt.

 


"Silence Does Not Mean Consent" – Examination for Discovery Caselaw Update

October 31st, 2012

 

Adding to this site’s archived caselaw addressing examination for discovery, useful reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, making the following points:

1. silence (or even agreement) to a discovery request does not compel a party to comply with it

2. the court has no power to order that answers to questions outstadning at an examination for discovery be put in writing

3.  the narrower scope for document production requirements is not circumvented simply by asking for production of documents at an examination for discovery

In this week’s case (LaPrarie Crane (Alberta) Ltd. v. Triton Projects Inc.)Master Bouck provided the following reasons addressing these points:

[32]         As for the outstanding requests from the examinations, Triton submits that  when there is no objection to production on the record — or indeed, where a positive response from the examinee is made — such requests must be answered : Winkler v. Lower Mainland Publishing Ltd., 2002 BCSC 40 at para. 17. In other words, the party being examined is not able to reflect upon requests unless counsel states on the record that the request will be taken under advisement or an objection is raised. Nor can a party have a change of mind upon reflection, or upon taking legal advice.

[33]         The principle that a party should not be permitted to subsequently revoke agreements made at an examination for discovery is laudable. However, silence does not mean consent: Gellen v. British Columbia (Public Guardian and Trustee of), 2005 BCSC 1615 at para. 17 (S.C.). Furthermore, it is difficult to see how the principle enunciated in Winkler can be applied after the introduction of time limited examinations for discovery: Rule 7-2 (2).

[34]         If counsel is expected to pause and consider the relevancy of every question asked of the witness, the time allotted for a party’s examination might well be consumed by objections, interventions and even argument. In recent decisions, the court has strongly discourage such intervention at examinations for discovery: see More Marine Ltd. v. Shearwater Marine Ltd., 2011 BCSC 166 at para. 13 foll’g Kendall v. Sun Life Assurance Co. of Canada, 2010 BCSC 1556 at para. 18. Given this change in procedure, I decline to follow Winkler.

[35]         If a person declines to provide the additional information requested, the examining party is not without a remedy: Rules 7-2 (22)-(24). This appears to be the remedy pursued on this application. Nonetheless, the court has no power to order that answers to questions outstanding at an examination for discovery be put in writing: Diachem Industries Ltd. v. Buckman (1994), 91 B.C.L.R. (2D) 312 at p. 314 (S.C.) [my emphasis].

[36]         Finally, it is acknowledged that under the SCCR, the duty to answer questions at an examination is broader than the duty to produce documents: More Marine Ltd. v. Shearwater Marine Ltd., supra, at para. 7. However, a party does not get around the application of Kaladjian v. Jose principles by asking for the documents at these examinations: Maxam Opportunities Fund (International) Ltd. Partnership v. 893353 Alberta Inc., 2012 BCSC 553.

 


Travelling Expenses "An Integral Part" of ICBC Part 7 Benefits

October 30th, 2012

Reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, addressing benefits which ought to be covered under a plaintiff’s first party insurance (Part7 benefits) with ICBC.

In today’s case (Wepryk v. Juraschka) the Plaintiff was injured in a 2008 collision and sued for damages.  At trial the Plaintiff’s damages were assessed at just over $83,000.  The Defendant then applied to have some of the assessed damages deducted pursuant to section 83 of the Insurance (Vehicle) Act.  In finding that mileage and parking expenses ought to be covered by ICBC’s no-fault benefits scheme (and therefore deductible from the tort damages) the Court provided the following findings:

[10]         I also agree that $22.50 for parking should be deducted as a component of travelling expenses for treatment. Travelling expenses are an integral part of necessary treatment and as such are a benefit subject to deduction:  Petersen v. Bannon, (1991) 1 C.C.L.I. (2d) 232 (B.C.S.C.).

[11]         The plaintiff also claimed car expenses for driving to and from medical appointments at a rate of .50¢ per kilometre, and I awarded the entire amount of $1,368.90 claimed by the plaintiff on the basis of her calculations. The defendants originally submitted that the entire amount of $1,368.90 should be deducted, but now say the deduction should be $684.45. According to ICBC’s Claims Procedure Manual for Accident Benefits, ICBC will only reimburse the use of one’s own vehicle at a rate of .25¢ per kilometre. Therefore, one half of the $1,368.90 awarded at trial, or $684.45, should be deducted for driving expenses.

 


ICBC Denied Access to Plaintiff's Vacation Photos

October 29th, 2012

Reasons for judgement were recently released by the BC Supreme Court, Victoria Registry, dismissing an ICBC application to compel production of a Plaintiff’s vacation photos.

In the recent case (Dawn-Prince v. Elston) the Plaintiff was injured in a 2007 collision.  In the course of her lawsuit she was examined for discovery where she “testified that she had been on these vacations…(and) about her activities on the vacations“.

ICBC brought an application to have access to any photos taken of these holidays.  The Court dismissed this application finding that while canvassing the scope of a Plaintiff’s vacation activities is fair game at discovery production of photos is not required.  In dismissing the application Master McCallum provided the following reasons:

[3]  In the authorities to which I was referred, the court has on some occasions ordered production of photographs in similar circumstances where on vacation…

[4]  The difference in this case is that the plaintiff acknowledges that she engaged in the sporting and physical recreational activities, including the very ones that are referred to in the Fric decision; hiking, scuba diving, and so on.  The photographs that are requested have been reviewed by counsel or someone in cosunsel’s office, Marler, who swears in her affidavit that she reviewed 23 photographs in which the plaintiff was shown and says that they do not depict the plaintiff in strenuous physical activities; rather they depict her standing, sitting, or walking, by the pool, or on the beach…I am satisfied from that evidence that production of this evidence, which is clearly the second stage of documentary discovery contemplated by the Rules, is not appropriate.  These photographs, from the evidence on this application, will not assist the defendant in defending the claim.  The evidence of the plaintiff, of course, with respect tow hat she did on her vacations nay well assist, but the photographs neither contradict nor confirm that.  They show the plaintiff on the evidence in activities that are not inconsistent with anything other than standing, sitting, or walking, none of which she says she cannot do,..

[6]  The application for production of photographs…is dismissed.


"Belt and Suspenders" Exam Denied in Face of Previous Opinion on Plaintiff's Medical Condition

October 26th, 2012

As previously discussed, while the BC Supreme Court Rules permit multi-disciplinary defence medical exams in appropriate circumstances.  Once a Defendant obtains an opinion from a properly qualified expert with respect to the Plaintiff’s alleged injury, a further exam will not be ordered to bolster the opinion of the initial expert.  This is sometimes referred to as the “Belt and Suspenders” principle.  Reasons for judgement were recently published by the BC Supreme Court, Victoria Registry, further addressing this issue.

In the recent case (Knowles v. Watters) the Plaintiff alleged she suffered from balance issues including imbalance, dizziness and light-headedness due to a motor vehicle collision.  In support of her case the Plaintiff tendered reports from a neurologist  psychologist, an otolaryngolosit and a general practitioner    The Plaintiff’s otolaryngologist opined that the dizziness issues were “multifactoral” in origin   .

The Plaintiff agreed to see a defence expert who opined that “there was nothing in my evaluation to suggest that she has sustained any injury to her peripheral balance mechanisms, including the inner ear vestibular mechanisms“.  The Defendant then sought  an additional exam with an ENT to further address this issue.  Master McCallum dismissed the application finding the Defendant already had an opinion on the issue and a further expert was not warranted in the circumstances   In dismissing the application the Court provided the following reasons:

[8]             The defendant says that Dr. Moll’s report is restricted to neurological functions, and is not a complete answer or a complete response, if it were looked at in that way, to what Dr. Noel had to say. The defendant says that can only be accomplished by an examination by Dr. Bell.

[9]             In this case the defendant has had the opportunity the authorities require to essentially balance the playing field. Counsel are agreed that the authorities I have been cited are to that effect. The court’s job is to ensure that there is a so-called level playing field or that the parties have the opportunity to deal with the case fairly on the merits.

[10]         The plaintiff here has, as is always the case, the opportunity to visit various specialists and get various reports. The defendant’s opportunity is limited to reports necessary to ensure that a fair trial can be obtained on the merits. In this case it is too fine a distinction to make to say that Dr. Moll, who made a comprehensive examination and gave a comprehensive report on the plaintiff’s balance complaints, can be distinguished from what Dr. Bell might or might not do as an otolaryngologist. There is no evidence to say that Dr. Moll was unable to make the report he did, that if he had had more information he might have made a different report, or indeed that if he had seen Dr. Noel’s report that he might have come to a different conclusion. None of that is the case. The plaintiff has disclosed its reports to date. The defendant has had a fair opportunity to respond to those reports. Dr. Moll’s report is indeed a complete response to Dr. Noel’s report. The plaintiff’s own report from Dr. Noel does not suggest that there is an underlying otolaryngological cause to the plaintiff’s symptoms. He says that the ENG test was normal except for one abnormality that he says is most likely due to other causes. Dr. Noel says the symptoms were multifactorial, not related to one issue. That is at odds with what Dr. Moll has to say, but that is what the jury will have to decide when the case comes to trial.

[11]         This is not a case where the defendant has made out the burden on him to demonstrate that this application is necessary. The application is dismissed. Costs should go as costs in the cause. There is no reason to depart from the usual rule.


Rule 15 Caselaw Update – Costs For Trials Exceeding Three Days

October 25th, 2012

Adding to this site’s archived caselaw dealing with BC Supreme Court’s Fast Track Rule, reasons for judgement were released addressing the appropriate costs for a Fast Track trial which exceeds 3 days.

Rule 15-1(15)(c) fixes costs for fast track trials which exceed two days at $11,000 “unless the court otherwise orders”.   In the recent case (Coutakis v. Lean) the Court held that the circumstances were appropriate to depart from this default amount.

In the Coutakis case the Plaintiff suffered C6/7 disk herniation.   His claim proceeded via fast track trial and ultimately took more than three days to conclude.  The Plaintiff argued that the $11,000 costs cap should be set aside to account for the lengthier than anticipated trial.  Mr. Justice Saunders agreed finding that the pronged hearing was due in part to the Defendant leading “irrelevant” and “ineffectual” evidence.  In assessing costs at $14,000 the court provided the following reasons:

[10]         Under subrule 15-1(15), the court is given a wide discretion to order an amount of costs other than the fixed amounts set out therein.  In my view, this is a case which clearly calls for the exercise of that discretion, in favour of the plaintiff.  That the hearing of the evidence took three days, rather than two, was largely as a result of the defence’s cross-examination of four of the plaintiff’s treating physicians, and the defence’s tendering as opinion evidence of the consultation report of a neurosurgeon.  Hearing the evidence of all of these physicians took more than three hours, and, as I stated in my judgment, all of it was ineffectual.  Further time was spent hearing irrelevant evidence from the defendant.

[11]         I find that the plaintiff is entitled to costs for each of the four days spent hearing evidence and argument, and for the fifth day which was scheduled but on which the trial did not proceed.

[12]         The plaintiff seeks a further allocation for additional preparation associated with the trial being continued eight months after it commenced.  Having reviewed the evidence before the court on the third day of trial, I do not think that the additional preparation would likely have been significant, and in any event any further cost incurred by the plaintiff is addressed by having awarded the plaintiff full costs for the aborted day of trial.

[13]         Using the amounts prescribed in the subrule as reference points, I award the plaintiff base costs of $14,000, plus disbursements.

 


Motorist With Right of Way Found 25% at fault for Speeding and Failing to Keep a Proper Lookout

October 24th, 2012

The below decision was upheld in reasons for judgement released in February 2014 by the BC Court of Appeal

_________________________________

As previously discussed, having the right of way is not always enough to escape fault (or partial fault) for a collision.  If a dominant motorist fails to react reasonably in the face of an obvious hazard liability can follow despite having the right of way.  This was demonstrated in reasons for judgement released this week by the BC Supreme Court, New Westminster Registry.

In this week’s case (Currie v. Taylor) the Defendant was travelling down highway 97 near Vernon, BC.  The Plaintiff, approaching from the Defendant’s right, left his stop sign attempting a left hand turn.

The Defendant had the right of way and the Plaintiff’s actions were found to be negligent.  The Defendant, however, was also found at fault for speeding and failing to react reasonably to the obvious hazard that the Plaintiff created.  In assessing the Defendant 25% at fault Mr. Justice Armstrong provided the following reasons:

[48]         The defendant Sharp’s evidence is confusing. He saw the Taxi moving away from the stop line but he did not take any evasive steps during the 10 seconds the Taxi was travelling across Highway 97. He looked into his rear view mirror but he had no time to avoid the accident. He confirmed that his vehicle did not decelerate significantly when he took his foot off the brake before impact; there was no reason that he could not have gone into the right lane before reaching the Intersection…

[128]     The defendant Sharp, travelling 33 km/h over the posted limit, would have reduced the time available to take evasive action or stop and would not have collided with the plaintiff in any event. It seems to me that the defendant Sharp, having seen the plaintiff start before he left the stop line and after, neglected to keep a proper lookout for the emergency that was developing in front of him…

[131]     Neither the defendant Sharp nor Mr. Tuckey had any difficulty in identifying the bright yellow Taxi as it was stopped on Meadowlark Road. The defendant Sharp’s discovery evidence was equivocal as to what he saw before impact. He first testified that he saw the Taxi leaving the stop line and followed it across his path, but then he indicated he had not seen the Taxi after it left the stop line. At that juncture he ought to have been aware the plaintiff might cross over into his lane…

[150]     It is clear that if the defendant Sharp’s speed had been as little as 110 km/h, the plaintiff would have cleared the Intersection without incident. Although speed, in itself, is not necessarily a breach of the standard of care I have concluded that the defendant Sharp’s speed was more than one third higher than the posted limit and his speed that interfered with his ability to take evasive steps. He would have had more time to react to the hazard and could have avoided the accident by steering and/or braking. In the circumstances he could otherwise have performed those manoeuvres which a reasonably careful and skilled driver might have taken. I have concluded that his lack of attention to the Taxi after it left the stop line, coupled with his excessive and unsafe speed, were a breach of his duty of care to the plaintiff…

[183]     In my view the plaintiff was obliged to yield the right-of-way and failed to do so, likely because he did not see the Van which was clearly visible. The defendant Sharp travelled at a speed more than one third above the limit and failed to take any timely measures to avoid the collision. The defendant Sharp also failed to keep a proper lookout and that, combined with his speed, deprived him of the opportunity to avoid the collision. In the end, when he realised that the Taxi was moving in front of him he looked to the right to attempt a lane change but was travelling too fast to be able to change lanes. I conclude that the plaintiff was more blameworthy. I apportion the liability for this collision 75% to the plaintiff and 25% to the defendants.


Catastrophically Injured Infant Ordered to Pay Public Trustee $79,000 in legal fees for legal fee review

October 24th, 2012

Reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Victoria Registry, discussing the circumstances when BC’s Public Guardian and Trustee can recover legal fees for their involvement in the scrutiny of the settlement of an injury claim involving an infant.

In this week’s case (E.B. v. Basi) the infant plaintiff was catastrophically injured while in foster care during an alleged intentional ”shaken baby” assault.  The incident led to profound lifelong disability requiring a lifetime of care needs.  A $13,000,000 settlement was ultimately reached and judicially approved.   The lawfirm involved sought contingency fess of over $3,000,000.  The Public Trustee, who was required by statute to weigh in on the matter, intervened and submitted that fees of $2,000,o00 were appropriate .  Ultimately the Court approved fees of $2.4 million.

The Public trustee incurred legal fees of over $79,000 in the process of intervening in the fee approval process.  They sought, pursuant to Section 10 of the Infants Act, to recover this from the infant’s lawyers or, in the alternative, from the infant’s estate.  Mr. Jutice Macaulay held that while the Public Trustee’s legal fees were “clearly high” they were ultimately reasonable.

The Court went on to hold that while section 10 of the Infants Act would technically allow for these fees to be payable from the Infants lawyers, absent ‘reprehensible conduct‘ by the lawfirm such an order would be inappropriate   The Court held that the infant’s estate was liable to pay the Public Trustee’s costs.  In finding that the fees should not be levied against the Plaintiff’s counsel the Court provided the following reasons:

[21]         I now turn to whether the Firm can be held partially responsible for this sum. As was noted earlier, indemnification of the PGT is governed by s. 10 of the Infants Act, which allows the court to direct that the PGT’s costs be paid out of either the estate of the infant or by “any other person who is a party to the proceeding.”

[22]         On its face, s. 10 does not appear to contemplate that the infant’s lawyer could be responsible for the PGT’s costs. However, returning to the analysis in Harrington, the Firm is properly characterized as a party in this proceeding. In Harrington, the Court of Appeal awarded special costs against the lawyer on the basis of that determination. The logical conclusion is that I have jurisdiction to make an award of ordinary costs against the Firm, although I am not aware of the court ever making such an award.

[23]         This case differs from Harrington in that there are no grounds here for an award of special costs. The Firm did not engage in reprehensible conduct deserving of rebuke (Garcia v. Crestbrook Forest Industries Ltd. (1994), 119 D.L.R. (4th) 740). In my view, the Firm took a position on time spent that was unreasonable, but I would not characterize it as reprehensible based on the continuum of behaviour discussed in Garcia and other cases. As such, the only remaining possibility is that the Firm be liable for an award of ordinary costs.

[24]         I have already discussed the potential dangers of shoehorning the traditional analysis for an award of costs to the present proceeding. I am not convinced that there is any “successful” party with regard to fee approval.

[25]         The process mandated by the Infants Act is intended to ensure that the amount of the fee is in the infant’s best interests. The PGT, on behalf of the infant, does not take an adversarial role against the infant’s lawyer. The Firm has an obvious self-interest in the outcome but is not opposing the best interests of the infant.

[26]         Absent any basis to award special costs, I decline to award costs against the Firm.


Non-Pecuniary Assessments for Athletically Active Individuals Discussed

October 23rd, 2012

A common focus when assessing non-pecuniary damages deals with looking at recreational activities and how they have been curtailed as a result of physical injuries.  Reasons for judgement were released last week by the BC Supreme Court, Vernon Registry, addressing this in the context of lingering soft tissue injuries.

In last week’s case (Travelbea v. Henrie) the Plaintiff was injured in a 2008 collision.   Fault was admitted by the Defendant focussing the case on an assessment of damages.   The court found that the Plaintiff suffered a “mild to moderate soft tissue injury to her neck and upper back“.  Her symptoms remained “painful and limiting” at the time of trial and while there was room for further improvement the Court was satisfied that there would still be “residual pain and limitations“.

Prior to the crash the Plaintiff was very fit regularly training for and participating in endurance events.  The injuries had a “significant effect..(on the Plaintiff’s) reasonably demanding athletic endeavours“.  In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $50,000 Mr. Justice Barrow provided the following reasons addressing this loss:

[36]         From the foregoing I conclude the following. The plaintiff sustained a mild to moderate soft tissue injury to her neck and upper back. Now, some four years after the accident, it remains painful and limiting. I think it more likely than not that if she commits to the focused stretching that Dr. Laidlow recommended she will increase her level of functioning. I think it more likely than not that if she takes the course of medication, whether nortriptyline or Celebrex, that Dr. Travlos recommended, she will experience an even greater improvement in her functionality. She will, however, be left with residual pain and limitations. I think it unlikely she will ever be able to ride a road bicycle for any appreciable period of time. As a result both that training and triathlon racing will remain beyond her ability. She may be able to ride a bicycle that can be operated in a more upright posture. I think it more likely than not that she will be able to swim and run, albeit not at the level or for the distance she did previously. I think it also likely that with this improvement in function she will recover some of her self confidence and some of the depression which seems to have settled over her will lift.

[37]         Ms. Travelbea’s injuries have affected her much more significantly than they would someone whose life did not revolve around the kinds of athletic endeavours she and her husband enjoy. Ms. Travelbea enjoyed training and did it four, five or six days a week. She enjoyed training as much or more than competing. It was in the midst of athletic pursuits that she met her husband. Training was a significant part of their relationship. They trained together and often raced together. It was the focus of much of their social activity. Her ability to train and the level of fitness she was able to sustain as a result was an important aspect of her sense of self worth…

[54]         Taking all of the foregoing into account, and having regard to the non-exhaustive list of factors set out at paragraph 46 in Stapley v. Hejslet, I consider that an award of $50,000 is appropriate in this case. Included in this amount is $3,000 which I have determined is the appropriate compensation for the plaintiff’s lost capacity to perform housekeeping tasks.


New Brunswick Court of Appeal Finds Interest on Disbursements Recoverable in Injury Litigation

October 22nd, 2012

I have previously discussed the uncertainty about whether interest on disbursements is a recoverable item in the prosecution of BC personal injury claims.  I understand the BC Court of Appeal will have the opportunity to canvass this issue in the upcoming months in an appeal of the competing Chandi and McKenzie decisions.

In New Brunswick, fortunately, the law has just been clarified with the Court of Appeal of New Brunswick addressing the issue head on in reasons for judgement released last week.  In short the Court held that interest on disbursements could in fact be recovered.

In last week’s case (LeBlanc v. Doucet) the Plaintiff was injured in a motorcycle collision.  He could not finance his lawsuit for damages and approached a lender who provided over $26,000 in disbursement financing.  By the time of resolution the interest on the loans topped $14,000.  The New Brunswick Court of Appeal held that interest could be a recoverable item.  In reaching this conclusion the Court provided the following reasons:

   The appellant, Francis LeBlanc, lacked the means to finance his action in damages against the respondents. His impecuniosity compelled him to take out loans from an independent third party to cover litigation expenses, all for the purpose of securing access to justice. While no provision of the Rules of Court expressly allows interest on such loans as a “disbursement”, sub-para. 2(14) of Tariff “D” of Rule 59 fills the gap. It suffices that those loans were “necessarily incurred” to secure the just determination of the proceeding and that the interest rates were “reasonable”. The evidence shows that these conditions were met in the present case. Accordingly, the clerk was duty bound to allow, as a disbursement, the interest ($12,665.41) on the loans required to cover the other disbursements he had approved. In short, these are the reasons that caused me to join my colleagues in reversing the decision of the judge of the Court of Queen’s Bench, sitting on appeal, which upheld the clerk’s rejection of Mr. LeBlanc’s interest reimbursement claim.

While this judgement is not binding in BC it certainly may be influential when the BC Court of Appeal addresses the issue.