“Mere Possibility” of Pre-Existing Injury Not Sufficient To Justify Document Disclosure Request
Reasons for judgement were released last week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, further judicially shaping document disclosure obligations under the new rules of court.
In last week’s case (Bains v. Hookstra) the Plaintiff was injured in a 2009 motor vehicle collision. ¬†The Plaintiff agreed to produce his MSP Printout, Pharmanet Records and WCB records from the time of the crash onwards. ¬†The Defendant was not satisfied with this timeframe and sought these records from before the collision. ¬†In support of their¬†application¬†the Defendant produced evidence that the Plaintiff was involved in two collisions in the year prior to the accident at issue in the lawsuit. ¬†The Defendant plead that there was a pre-existing injury but the Court noted this was done in a “very pro-forma way“.
Master Muir ultimately rejected the application finding that evidence of previous collisions leads to no more than “mere speculation” of a pre-existing injury. ¬†In dismissing the application the Court provided the following reasons:
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†The applicant must demonstrate a connection between the documents sought and the issues beyond a ‚Äúmere possibility‚ÄĚ:¬†Przybysz v. Crowe,¬†2011 BCSC 731 at para.¬†45, referencing¬†Gorse v. Straker, 2010 BCSC 119 at para.¬†53, and, as was noted by Master Bouck in¬†Edwards v. Ganzer, 2012 BCSC 138, at para.¬†51, ‚Äúthere must be some ‚Äėair of reality‚Äô between the documents and the issues in the action ….‚ÄĚ
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†The plaintiff has clearly denied that he was suffering from any pre-existing injury at the time of the accident in question or for two years prior. He has further denied that he made any WCB claim during that two-year period.
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†The evidence put forward by the defendant does no more than raise the mere possibility of a prior existing condition. In the circumstances of the plaintiff‚Äôs denial, that evidence is insufficient to warrant an order for the production of the documents sought.
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†The defendant‚Äôs application is therefore dismissed