Consolidation of Trials Not Appropriate With Multiple Quantum of Damage Assessments
Although the BC Supreme Court has discretion¬†to consolidate¬†different¬†claims for trial in cases where competing claims are “so interwoven as to make separate trials at different times before¬†different¬†judges¬†undesirable” this is a discretion rarely¬†exercised¬†when there are separate plaintiffs with distinct injury claims that require individual quantification. ¬†This reality was demonstrated in reasons for judgement released this week by the BC Supreme Court, New Westminster Registry.
In this week’s case (MacMillan v. Shannon) 4 occupants of a vehicle were involved in a collision with another¬†vehicle¬† ¬†All sued for damages in separate claims. ¬†Liability and damages were disputed in all claims. ¬†ICBC brought an application seeking to have all trials heard together. ¬†This application was dismissed with the key factor in derailing the¬†application¬†being the individual quantum claims being advanced. ¬†In addressing this point Master Caldwell provided the following reasons:
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Finally, other than on the issue of liability, no one is arguing that there will be a significant or any saving on the presentation of expert evidence. Each of the plaintiffs has a different family doctor. Two of the plaintiffs now live in Quebec so if there is any further expert evidence it is unlikely to overlap and may have to be provided by way of teleconferencing to minimize expense. Again, it is clear that there are ways of reducing complexity, duplication and inconvenience; it will be up to counsel to determine whether that happens or not.
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†In short, I am of the view that none of the second arm of tests arising in the¬†Merritt¬†case (supra) or the subsequent case of¬†Bhinder v. 470248 B.C. Ltd., 2007 BCSC 805 is met in the present cases. The application for consolidation and related relief is dismissed as is the application for removal of any or all of the actions from¬†Rule¬†15-1 fast track.