March 2nd, 2017
Reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, New Westminster Registry, ordering a Plaintiff to pay double costs after the dismissal of an injury claim.
In today’s case (Ross v. Andrews) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2011 collision, alleged injury and sued for damages. Prior to trial the Plaintiff declined two formal settlement offers, the first for $41,000 the second for $75,000.
After 15 days of trial “the jury deliberated and determined that the plaintiff had not been injured in the motor vehicle accident”.
Under the loser-pays BC Supreme Court rules the Plaintiff was ordered to pay the Defendant’s costs and double costs from the time of the second offer onwards. After a 15 day jury trial it is a safe bet that the costs consequences would be in the tens of thousands of dollars. In finding double costs appropriate Mr. Justice Ball provided the following reasons:
20] The evidence aforesaid created significant areas where the credibility of the plaintiff was subject to negative findings by a jury. When those areas are added together the plaintiff ought to have actively considered any offer which offered a positive return without the risks of a trial.
 Based on a review of the evidence at trial, described in part above, and the cases cited, as well as a review of the submissions of counsel, I find that the offer to settle in the amount of $75,000 ought reasonably to have been accepted by the plaintiff having given consideration to the foreseeable credibility problems and the negative verdict of the jury. The offers to settle both included positive returns whereas at trial the plaintiff’s action was dismissed. The relative financial circumstances of the parties do not preclude an order for double costs in this situation. As a result, applying Rule 9-1 of the Supreme Court Rules, the defendants are entitled to the costs of this action generally and double costs of this action commencing on May 26, 2016. This date is seven days after the second offer to settle was delivered to the plaintiff; a reasonable period of time for the plaintiff to consider the offer. Double costs are awarded from May 26, 2016 until the end of the trial and will include the costs of the application to fix costs. The defendants are also entitled to disbursements but not doubled.
 If the parties are unable to agree on the quantum of costs and disbursements, there shall be a reference to the registrar to assess costs pursuant to Rule 14-1(4) of the Supreme Court Rules.