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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

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Posts Tagged ‘Andrews v. Mainster’

Is An Expert Report Admissible If Your Expert Dies Before Trial?

March 25th, 2013

Reasons for judgement were released last week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, dealing with this issue.  In short the Court held that certain factual observations contained in the report were admissible as they met the ‘necessary and reliable‘ exceptions to the hearsay rule.  The opinion evidence, however, was excluded.

In today’s case (Andrews v. Mainster) the Plaintiff had cognitive limitations and these were tested by a neurupsychologiest one year following the collision.  The expert died before trial.  In admitting the factual portions of the report but excluding the opinion evidence Mr. Justice Pearlman provided the following reasons:

[25]         I return now to Dr. Kay’s report.  Dr. Kay’s report provides the only evidence of a comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation of the plaintiff’s cognitive functioning one year post accident.  The necessity requirement is met with respect to those portions of Dr. Kay’s report that deal with his testing and evaluation of the plaintiff’s level of cognitive functioning.  I also find that those parts of Dr. Kay’s report that record the history he took from Ms. Andrews, discuss the tests he administered and set out his opinions on the results of his testing of the plaintiff’s cognitive functioning meet the threshold of reliability required for their admission into evidence.  Dr. Kay was a neuropsychologist trained and experienced in the use of the standardized tests he administered to the plaintiff.  Those tests provide a largely objective measure of the plaintiff’s cognitive functioning.  These factors, combined with Dr. Kay’s certification of the duties he owed to the court as an expert provide sufficient circumstantial guarantees of the trustworthiness of this evidence to satisfy threshold reliability.

[26]         Different considerations apply respecting Dr. Kay’s opinion or diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder, his prognosis, and his opinion on the motor vehicle accident as a cause of the plaintiff’s emotional and psychological disorders.  Those opinions have a significant subjective component.  They are not predicated upon the objective results of his testing of the plaintiff’s cognitive capacity.  The nature, extent and sources of the plaintiff’s psychological difficulties both before and after the motor vehicle accident are all in issue in this litigation.  There is also a live issue about whether the plaintiff fully disclosed relevant information concerning her psychological condition and the various stressors that affected her from time to time to the counsellors, psychologists and psychiatrists who have treated or examined her.

[27]         Defence counsel requested production of Dr. Kay’s file, including his interview notes, in order to determine whether it might shed any additional light on the plaintiff’s complex psychological history.  The file has not been produced and apparently is not available.  Dr. Kay’s report also refers to a diary kept by the plaintiff following the motor vehicle accident, which has not been produced, and to the plaintiff having seen Ms. Tracy Good for counselling for family and relationship issues for 11 years.  Ms. Good informed counsel that she has shredded all of her records.  If true, that effectively precludes exploration of a potentially valuable source of information concerning the causes of the plaintiff’s emotional and psychological disorders before and after the motor vehicle accident. 

[28]         In light of the subjective nature of the evidence concerning the causes and nature of the plaintiff’s emotional and psychological disorders, and the gaps in the documentary record that I have discussed briefly, I am not satisfied that Dr. Kay’s professional training as a psychologist and the certifications contained in his report provide an adequate guarantee of the trustworthiness of his opinions on these matters to meet the threshold of reliability for their admission into evidence.  In the circumstances of this case, there is no adequate substitute for cross-examination of the expert.

[29]         Further, the test of necessity is not met for Dr. Kay’s diagnosis of and prognosis for the plaintiff’s emotional and psychological disorders.  Relevant direct evidence is available from another source.  The plaintiff has a comprehensive opinion from Dr. O’Shaughnessy on the nature and causes of the plaintiff’s disorders, their relationship to the motor vehicle accident and their treatment.

[30]         Accordingly, I conclude that those portions of Dr. Kay’s report beginning at page 20 under the heading “Psychological Explanations” and continuing with the prognosis, opinion and recommendations at pages 21 through 23 do not satisfy the tests of necessity and reliability and are therefore inadmissible.  The balance of Dr. Kay’s report, with those redactions, will be admitted into evidence.


Left Hand Turner Found 100% At Fault for Intersection Crash on Fresh Amber

June 20th, 2012

Reasons for judgement were released recently by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, addressing fault for an intersection crash involving a left hand turning vehicle and a through driver.

In the recent case (Andrews v. Mainster) the parties were driving in opposite direction on 16th Avenue in Vancouver, BC.  Ms. Andrews attempted to drive through the intersection. Of 16th and Fir.  The light turned amber as Ms. Andrews was about one car length away.  At the same time the motorist in the opposite lane of travel, who was already committed in the in the intersection, attempted to turn left resulting in collision.  Both parties sued each other.  In finding the turning motorist fully at fault Mr. Justice Masuhara provided the following reasons:

[30] It was dry and sunny at the time of the accident. Ms. Mainster had a clear and unobstructed view up West 16th to Granville Street. Ms. Andrews was not driving at an excessive speed on West 16th. Rather, she was driving at a normal speed approximately 45 km/h.

[31] I find that Ms. Mainster had proceeded into the intersection beyond the westside crosswalk and was waiting for traffic to pass through.

[32] More likely than not, Ms. Andrews was talking to Mr. Priolo just prior to the accident and that Ms. Andrews’ head was turned somewhat towards Mr. Priolo.

[33] I also find that Ms. Mainster turned left into the lane of oncoming traffic at the time the light for traffic on West 16th turned yellow. I also find at this same time Ms. Andrews’ car was within a car length of the intersection.  Ms. Andrews was the dominant driver relative to Ms. Mainster.

[34] I find that Ms. Andrews’ vehicle constituted an “immediate hazard”. I find that Ms. Mainster did not “yield” and that she did not become the dominant driver.

[35] I find that the collision occurred in the intersection closer to the crosswalk on the west side of the intersection than in the middle of the intersection.

[36] I note that Ms. Mainster agreed that if she would have looked eastward that she should have been able to see the red Mazda and could not explain why she did not see it. Ms. Mainster said that it was just a brief moment between the time the front of her car had just moved to turn and the collision. The first time she saw the Mazda was at the time of the collision. The theory that Ms. Andrews must have been travelling excessively and if seen initially would have been at the eastern end of West 16th (closer to Granville) has not been made out. As a result, Ms. Mainster in not seeing the Andrews’ car was not paying proper attention to oncoming traffic.  She did not meet the standard of care of a driver in her circumstances.

[37] Though, Ms. Andrews had her head somewhat turned toward Mr. Priolo in conversation as she was driving towards the intersection just before the collision, I do not find that she had taken her eyes off the road in front of her. I also do not find that Ms. Andrews had a duty to anticipate that Ms. Mainster would move into her lane when she did.  In any event, the proximity of the two vehicles was such that when Ms. Mainster moved into the lane of oncoming traffic that Ms. Andrews would have been unable to take sufficient action to avoid the collision.

[38] In the circumstances, I find Ms. Mainster to be entirely liable for the accident.