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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 ‘Rule 7-7(5)’

ICBC Not Allowed To Withdraw Admission of Fault Late in Litigation

December 11th, 2018

Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, considering a request to withdraw a formal admission of fault for a vehicle collision in the deep stages of litigation.

In today’s case (Bodnar v. Sobolik) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2014 collision.  He sued alleging the Defendants were at fault.  ICBC, the Defendant’s insurer, admitted fault in the course of the lawsuit.  As the trial progressed the Defendants retained an engineer who viewed video of the crash and concluded “the speed of the plaintiff vehicle as 74 km/hr in a 50 zone“.  Based on this the Defendants sought to withdraw the admission of fault.  In refusing the request the Court noted the litigation was mature and it would not be in the interests of justice to allow it.  In dismissing the application Mr. Justice McEwan provided the following reasons:

[13]         The Notice of Civil Claim was filed October 11, 2016. The Response to Civil Claim was filed January 12, 2017, formally admitting liability. On May 30, 2017, Mr. Bo Baharloo assumed conduct of the file.

[14]         ICBC clearly understood the material contained on the video footage. The admission was not made hastily, inadvertently and without knowledge of the facts. Successive adjusters worked on the file and gave instructions to admit liability with full knowledge of the video footage. At the time liability was admitted ICBC had the video footage. The defendants had been aware of the existence of video footage when they were provided with a copy. The preparation of a report on September 28, 2018 was well after ICBC and defence counsel had both received a copy of the video footage.

[15]         At this late stage both cars have been written off and are no longer available for inspection.

[16]         It is not in the interests of justice to allow a withdrawal of the admission of liability because there is now a difference of opinion about the cause of the accident.

[17]         The application is dismissed. In saying that I say nothing about contributory negligence or whether it is possible to plead or amend the pleadings to raise the issue.

[18]         I should say that I have considered the cases Boyd v. Brais, 2000 BCSC 404 and Miller v. Norris, 2013 BCSC 552 as nearest to the present situation.

[19]         The application is dismissed with costs to the plaintiff.


Liability Admission Overturned Late in Litigation

December 23rd, 2014

When fault for a crash is admitted in a formal lawsuit the Court has discretion to allow withdrawal of the admission in appropriate circumstances.  Reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Court of Appeal documenting one such instance.

In today’s case (Sidhu v. Hothi) the Plaintiffs alleged they were involved in a collision caused by the Defendant.  They sued for damages and ICBC admitted fault on behalf of the defendant.  In the course of the lawsuit a witness was interviewed who provided a statement indicating the Plaintiffs may not have been in the vehicle at all.  ICBC sought to withdraw the admission of fault.  The plaintiffs opposed arguing it was too late to do so.  The BC Court of Appeal disagreed and in finding withdrawal was appropriate provided the following reasons:

[25]         Turning, then, to what I regard as the real issue in this case – whether the chambers judge erred in concluding that most of the Hamilton factors weighed in favour of the defendants – I would suggest it would be preferable to frame items 3‑8 of the Hamilton test not as conditions that must be met, but as factors that should be considered in determining what result is in the interests of justice. Thus I would reframe items 3‑8 as follows:

(a)      whether the admission was made inadvertently, hastily, or without knowledge of the facts;

(b)      whether the “fact” admitted was or was not within the knowledge of the party making the admission;

(c)      where the admission is one of fact, whether it is or may be untrue;

(d)      whether and to what extent the withdrawal of the admission would prejudice a party; and

(e)      whether there has been delay in the application to withdraw the admission and any reason offered for such delay.

I have omitted item 6 of the original list (that the fact admitted be one of mixed fact and law), since in most cases, including Hamilton itself, this has been held to be irrelevant provided a triable issue is raised (see alsoNesbitt (B.C.S.C.) at para. 56.)

[26]         The decision as to what is in the interests of justice involves a considerable degree of discretion, and as noted in Goundar v. Nguyen 2013 BCCA 251, this court should generally not interfere with such a decision unless the judge erred in principle. In my view, the chambers judge correctly weighed the “delay” factor against the fact that the admission was made without knowledge of the evidence; that the insurer’s failure to appreciate the significance of Mr. Hothi’s witness statement was a simple oversight; that witnesses to the accident are still available; and most importantly, that if the application were dismissed, the plaintiffs might be perpetrating a fraud on the defendants and on the court. In my opinion, this possibility is one that would be very difficult to countenance. Further, allowing the application will ensure that the plaintiffs’ claim will be heard on the merits – an overarching objective referred to in Rule 1-3 of the new Supreme Court Civil Rules.

[27]         For these reasons, I would dismiss the appeal.


Can a Liability Admission Reached by Agreement Be Judicially Set Aside?

May 29th, 2013

The BC Court of Appeal had an opportunity to address this issue and the short answer is yes.

In this week’s case (Goundar v. Nguyen) the Plaintiff was injured in a multi-vehicle collision. The Plaintiff sued two motorists and ICBC initially denied fault on behalf of both.  As the lawsuit progressed the Defendant’s lawyer ‘inadvertently’ agreed to admit liability on behalf of one Defendant in exchange for a discontinuance against the second Defendant.  This deal was agreed to  and an amended Response was filed.  Subsequently a Court order was obtained setting aside the admission of liability accepting that it was agreed to inadvertently by defence counsel.

The Plaintiff appealed arguing the liability agreement superseded the Court’s jurisdiction to set aside the admission.  The BC Court of Appeal disagreed and held that the Court retained the discretion to set the admission aside.  In reaching this conclusion the Court provided the following reasons:

[26]         I have already concluded that Rule 7-7(5) applies to withdrawing an admission even if it arose from an agreement, and determined that the agreement in issue in this case does not purport to attempt to oust the application of the Supreme Court Civil Rules and, in particular, the rule governing the withdrawal of an admission made in a pleading.  The fact of the agreement and the conduct of the parties relying on it is a factor that can, to the extent necessary, be taken into account in the balancing of prejudice as part of answering the ultimate question whether the interests of justice require permitting the admission to be withdrawn.

[27]         In the result, I am satisfied that the chambers judge adopted the correct test in deciding the issue before her.

[28]         Allowing the withdrawal of an admission is a discretionary matter.  Deference is owed to the chambers judge, unless the judge erred in principle in the exercise of her discretion.  Here I see no such error.  The judge found there to be a triable issue.  She concluded that the admission had been made inadvertently.  She balanced any prejudice arising from the proposed withdrawal of the admission.  She addressed the extent to which a prejudice could be compensated by costs.  I would not interfere with the exercise of the chambers judge’s discretion.


ICBC Application To Withdraw Liability Admission Denied

April 5th, 2013

Rule 7-7(5) allows a party to withdraw a formal admission by consent or with permission of the Court.  When it comes to an admission of liability obtaining the Court’s permission can be an uphill battle as was demonstrated in reasons for judgement released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Victoria Registry.

In this week’s case (Miller v. Norris) the Defendant had a heart attack while driving a vehicle   He struck a traffic pole which was launched into the Plaintiff’s vehicle causing injury.  ICBC initially looked at the liability situation and placed the Defendant at fault.  After the lawsuit started liability was formally admitted in the pleadings.  As the lawsuit progressed the Defence lawyer wished to deny liability raising the ‘inevitable accident’ defence.  The Court refused to allow this noting the admission was not made hastily and no new evidence existed justifying the changed pleadings at this stage of the litigation.  In dismissing the application Master Bouck provided the following reasons:

[35]         The admission of liability (or more accurately, the rejection of the inevitable accident defence), was not made hastily, inadvertently or without knowledge of the facts. As noted, the individual adjusters involved in these claims are experienced in such matters and clearly put some thought towards the inevitable accident defence.

[36]         The question of liability is one of mixed fact and law. However, it may not be said that the fact admitted is false.

[37]         In terms of delay, the ICBC internal review of liability was initiated in the summer of 2011. For unexplained reasons, an independent adjuster was not retained for some seven months. The independent adjuster was in contact with the adjuster prior to be pleadings being closed and reported to ICBC in July 2012, yet there was no change in the instructions on liability for several more months and then only as a result of defence counsel’s initiative.

[38]         The only so-called “new” evidence is the production of Mr. Norris’ pre-accident health records. These records were obtained by the independent adjuster and provided to ICBC in July 2012. The records could have been obtained much earlier in this process; instead, the adjusters chose to rely on the information obtained from Mr. Norris’ doctor’s office. Most importantly, no new instructions were provided to defence counsel upon receipt of this information.

[39]         The plaintiff has incurred expense and proceeded with this lawsuit based on the admission of liability. Defence counsel submits that an award of costs can alleviate any prejudice suffered by the plaintiff in that regard. Even if I were to award the plaintiff costs and disbursements “thrown away” to date, the withdrawal of the admission and the plea of inevitable accident leaves the plaintiff exposed to the defendant’s costs. Furthermore, I am unable to characterize the pain clinic expense as a disbursement under Rule 14-1(5) of the Supreme Court Civil Rules. Rather, that expense is more accurately described as an item of special damages which would not be covered by any costs award.

[40]         This case bears some resemblance to the circumstances discussed in Rohling (Guardian ad litem of) v. Proudman, [1998] B.C.J. No. 1383 (S.C. Master). In that case, the defence sought to withdraw an admission of liability in order to plead inevitable accident (based on the recommendation of counsel). At para. 20, the court states:

I am not satisfied that it is in the interests of justice to allow the withdrawal of the admission simply because Mr. MacLeod takes a different view of the facts than taken by the adjuster and independent adjuster when the matter was originally considered shortly after the accident.

[41]         A similar analysis of this question is given in Oostendorp v. Sarai, [1973] B.C.J. No. 570 at para. 10:

It would be wrong to encourage a practice that enabled parties to admit liability one day and withdraw the admission later on the basis of a different view taken of the same facts by some other person.

[42]         I would add that here, multiple adjusters took the view that liability ought to be admitted. Furthermore, even though the relevant witnesses with respect to the inevitable accident defence are known to the parties, the passage of time may have affected these witnesses’ memories: Rohling (Guardian ad litem of) v. Proudman at para. 19.

[43]         In the result, I find that the application ought to be dismissed, with costs to the plaintiff.


More On Withdrawing Admissions of Liability

April 12th, 2012

As previously discussed, Rule 7-7(5) canvasses the BC Supreme Court’s authority to allow a party to a lawsuit to withdraw a formal admission made the course of litigation.

A common admission canvassed under this rule deals with fault following a crash.  Occasionally ICBC admits fault on behalf of a Defendant and for various reasons wishes to withdraw such an admission as the lawsuit progresses.  Reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, dealing with such a scenario.

In this week’s case (Goundar v. Nguyen) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2008 collision.  ICBC initially denied fault on behalf of the Defendant.  In the course of the lawsuit the Defendant’s lawyer ‘inadvertantly’ agreed to admit liability on behalf of the Defendant and an amended Response was filed.

The Defendant brought an application to withdraw its admission.  In allowing this the Court found that the admission was made inadvertently and provided the following reasons:

[35] Rule 7-7(5) provides:

A party is not entitled to withdraw…

(c) an admission made in a pleading…

except by consent or with leave of the court.

[36] The cases to which I was referred dealing with withdrawal of admissions treat admissions made by inadvertence with caution.  Many of the cases deal with deemed admissions through failure to respond to a Notice to Admit.  However, the considerations remain the same.  The court will consider if the admission was made inadvertently, if it is in the interests of justice to allow the issue to be resolved by a trial, and if there will be no prejudice to the party which cannot be compensated by costs.  If satisfied of those factors, leave to withdraw such an admission will generally be granted. (Abacus Cities Ltd. v. Port Moody [1980] B.C.J. No. 1749 and cases cited therein).

[37] The balancing of the interests of justice requires the applicant to show that there is a triable issue in respect of the admission.  The chambers judge must not make a final determination, but will simply determine if there is an issue worthy of being tried.  Prejudice resulting only from the benefit of relying on the admission occasioned by the inadvertence is not of significance (Can-Am, supra)…

[42] I am satisfied there is a triable issue on liability, based on the information put before me as to Goundar’s allegations, potential evidence from Maharajh, and Nguyen’s ticket on the one hand, and Nguyen’s and Stewart’s evidence on the other.  As well, Nguyen has her own action which is still outstanding.  There is a conflict in the evidence about the collision, which should be resolved by a trial.

[43] Although the plaintiff says the relevant admission was made deliberately and with no new facts available, that is not borne out by the affidavit material.  The lawyer has set out clearly how she came to make this admission in the face of her own assessment of the case and contrary instructions.  She admits she did not remember her instructions had changed and she did not conduct a review of the file before following a prompt from her paralegal to follow up on ICBC’s original letter.  The initial suggestion by ICBC to canvass plaintiff’s counsel regarding the proposal was made without the benefit of Mr. Stewart’s evidence, and the relevant instructions not to admit liability were in place at the time the lawyer amended the Response to admit liability.  I am satisfied that the defendant has demonstrated that the admission was made inadvertently.

[44] As for the balancing of prejudice, nothing irrevocable has been done that cannot be compensated for in costs.  The interests of justice require that this unfortunate situation be set back on track rather than allow the Goundar action to proceed on an untested and possibly erroneous foundation which has come about as a result of a mistake.

[45] If the admission of liability is left in place, the possibility of future remedies exists through an action by ICBC against the lawyer, and also possibly by Nguyen against ICBC for failure to defend her in this action.  However, that is not a satisfactory approach.  Goundar’s action would still be predicated upon a mistaken admission, and the interests of justice are not served by failing to rectify a mistake in circumstances where any prejudice can be compensated for in costs.

[46] The delay in bringing the application, once the lawyer became aware of her mistake, is not inordinate.  The trial date is four months away, which allows time for additional discovery.  While the deadline for expert reports is approaching, any prejudice arising from that factor can be compensated for in costs, as set out below.

[47] Goundar says this case is taken outside the usual bounds of withdrawals of admissions by the bargain she struck – discontinuing the action against Stewart in exchange for an admission of liability on behalf of Nguyen.  The defendants must be held to their bargain.  However, the Court of Appeal held in Drake (Guardian ad litem of) v. Clark (1996) 31 B.C.L.R. (3d) 289 that it is no longer necessary for the doctrine of promissory estoppel to be invoked in applications to withdraw admissions.  Withdrawal may be made if it is in the interest of justice.  As well, in this case, unlike Phil Whittaker Logging Ltd., supra, and the other cases referred to by the plaintiff, the admission was made inadvertently.


Can ICBC Deny Fault For a Crash After Previously Admitting it?

April 13th, 2011

As with most areas of law, the short answer is ‘it depends‘.  Reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Victoria Registry, canvassing this area of law.

In today’s case (Hurn v. McLellan) the Plaintiff was injured in a 2007 motor vehicle collision.  It was a ‘t-bone‘ crash that occurred in a parking lot.  The Plaintiff started a lawsuit and ICBC admitted the issue of fault in the Pleadings on behalf of the other motorist.  As the lawsuit neared trial ICBC brought an application seeking permission to withdraw the admission of fault.  Master Bouck dismissed ICBC’s request finding it would be prejudicial to the Plaintiff’s interests.  In doing so the Court provided the following useful summary of the law:

[26] …There are similar and overlapping considerations for the court on these two types of applications. However, to adopt the submissions of plaintiff’s counsel, the “high bar” threshold to obtain leave to withdraw an admission must be met before the “low bar” threshold to obtain leave to amend a pleading will follow. Thus, the legal test to be met by the defence is with respect to the withdrawal of an admission.

[27] Rule 7-7(5) of the SCCR  provides that:

7-7(5)  A party is not entitled to withdraw

(a) an admission made in response to a notice to admit,

(b) a deemed admission under subrule (2), or

(c) an admission made in a pleading, petition or response to petition

except by consent or with leave of the court.

[28] The principles which govern an application to withdraw an admission of fact are as follows:

1.  Whether there is a triable issue which, in the interests of justice, should be determined on the merits and not disposed of by an admission of fact;

2.  In applying that test, all of the circumstances should be taken into account including whether:

(a) the admission has been made inadvertently, hastily or without knowledge;

(b) the fact admitted was not within the knowledge of the party making the admission

(c) the fact admitted is not true.

(d) the fact admitted is one of mixed fact and law

(e) the withdrawal of the admission would not prejudice a party

(f) there has been no delay in applying to withdraw the admission.

Hamilton v. Ahmed (1999), 28 C.P.C. (4th) 139 (B.C.S.C.) at para. 11, as approved in Munster & Sons Developments Ltd. v. Shaw, 2005 BCCA 564.

[29] More recently, the test has been articulated by the court in 374787 B.C. Ltd. v. Great West Management Corp., 2007 BCSC 582 at para. 27:

As a general rule, the Court must consider whether in the circumstances of the case the interests of justice justify the withdrawal of the admission. The following facts, which are not exhaustive are relevant: delay, loss of a trial date, a party is responsible for an erroneous admission, inadvertence in the making of an admission and estoppel …

[30] The question of fault for the accident is one of mixed fact and law: Bedwell v. McGill, 2008 BCCA 6 at paras. 33 to 34, foll’g Housen v. Nikolaisen, [2002] S.C.J. No. 31, [2002] 2 S.C.R. 235 at para. 27 (S.C.C.), per Iacobucci and Major JJ.

[31] However, whether the admission sought to be withdrawn is one of fact, law or mixed law and fact, the same legal test applies: Nesbitt v. Miramar Mining Corp., 2000 BCSC 187 at para. 6.

[32] It is not enough to show that triable issue exists. The applicant must show that, in all of the circumstances, the interests of justice require the withdrawal of the admission: Rafter v. Paterson(November 7, 2007), Vancouver No. B924884.

[33] Moreover, even if a trial date is not imminent and the applicant gave early notice of the proposed withdrawal of the admission, delay in bringing an application for such relief might in itself be a “concern that cannot be overcome”: Sureus v. Leroux, 2010 BCSC 1344.


More on the New Rules of Court and Proportionality: Withdrawing Deemed Admissions

December 8th, 2010

As previously discussed, the BC Supreme Court Rules permit parties to a lawsuit to ask the opposing side to make binding admissions through a “Notice to Admit”.  If the opposing side fails to respond to the Notice in the time lines required they are deemed to have made the sought admissions.  Once the admission is made it cannot be withdrawn except by consent of the parties or with the Court’s permission.  Reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, New Westminster Registry, considering the Court’s discretion to withdraw deemed admissions.

In today’s case (Piso v. Thompson) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2003 collision.  She sued for damages alleging longstanding injuries as a result of this crash.  In the course of the lawsuit ICBC’s lawyer served the Plaintiff with a Notice to Admit claiming that the Plaintiff was fully recovered within two years, that there was no claim for past wage loss nor a claim for diminished earning capacity.  The Plaintiff’s lawyer neglected to respond to the Notice in the timelines required resulting in the admissions being inadvertently made.  ICBC then brought an application for summary judgement.

The Plaintiff brought an application asking for permission to withdraw the admissions.  ICBC opposed arguing there would be no prejudice to the Plaintiff if she was faced with these admissions as she could sue her own lawyer in negligence to make up for any damages the unwanted admissions caused.  Master Caldwell rejected this argument and permitted the Plaintiff to withdraw the admissions.  The Court cited the principle of ‘proportionality‘ in reaching judgement.  Master Caldwell provided the following useful reasons:

[20]         Rule 7-7 provides a mechanism to streamline and make more efficient the litigation process. It rewards efficiency and encourages a focus on issues which matter and which are truly in dispute. It provides penalties and disincentives for failure to admit that which should properly be admitted by way of cost sanctions. It certainly provides for much more extreme outcomes in appropriate circumstances but it also provides for judicial discretion in excusing or relieving from such extreme outcomes in appropriate circumstances.

[21]         In my respectful view Rule 7-7 does not, nor was it intended to, create a trap or add an inescapable obstacle to ensnare or trip up sloppy or inattentive counsel to the detriment of the parties to the litigation.

[22]         The current Rule 1-3(a) continues the long-standing object of the rules:

The object of these Supreme Court Civil Rules is to secure the just, speedy and inexpensive determination of every proceeding on its merits.

[23]         There is no question in my mind that the failure in this case was a sloppy, inadvertent and possibly even negligent failure on the part of former counsel for the plaintiff. I am satisfied that the plaintiff himself cannot be faulted in any way for the oversight; he had neither actual notice of the document in question from his lawyer nor an opportunity to provide a reasoned and considered response.

[24]         The refusal of leave to withdraw these admissions will deny the plaintiff his opportunity to have his claim heard on the merits. The argument that the plaintiff can have his relief by way of a professional negligence claim against his former counsel fails to recognize the further delay and expense of such a claim. In the context of proportionality such an option does not seem appropriate from a financial or court resource prospective.

[25]         In my view this is precisely the type of situation which warrants an order allowing the withdrawal of a deemed admission while providing for the other party in costs and other accommodations.

[26]         The plaintiff is granted leave to withdraw the admissions.


BC Supreme Court Rules Update: Withdrawing an Admission of Fault

September 24th, 2010

Reasons for judgement were released today considering when a Defendant can withdraw an admission of fault in a personal injury lawsuit.

In today’s case (Surerus v Leroux) the Plaintiff was injured when he was struck by a vehicle operated by the Defendant.  He sued for damages and alleged the crash was the Defendant’s fault for a variety of reasons including that the Defendant drove a vehicle with defective brakes.  ICBC, the insurer for the Defendant, instructed the defence lawyer to admit fault.

In the course of the lawsuit the Defendant wished to withdraw the admission of fault.  The Defendant brought a motion asking the Court’s permission to do so.  Master Shaw dismissed the motion finding that the request was brought too late in the course of lawsuit.

The Court applied Rule 7-7(5) of the New BC Supreme Court Civil Rules (the rule dealing with withdrawing admissions).  This is the first case I’m aware of applying this rule however it’s worth noting that the rule’s language is almost identical to the old rule 31(5)(c) and the Court relies on precedents established under the old rule as being authoritative.  In dismissing the motion Master Shaw made the following comments:

[3]             Rule 7-7(5) reads as follows:

Withdrawal of admission

(5)  A party is not entitled to withdraw

(a) an admission made in response to a notice to admit,

(b) a deemed admission under subrule (2), or

(c) an admission made in a pleading, petition or response to petition

except by consent or with leave of the court.  …

[17]         This is not a case where the plaintiff’s pleadings set out a variety of allegations of possible negligence. The plaintiff made a specific allegation in his pleadings of poor mechanical condition and faulty brakes.

[18]         The defence says that there is an issue to be tried, and states that the defendant’s evidence will be that he had no prior knowledge of the brake issue before the accident.

[19]         In 374787 B.C. Ltd. v. Great West Management Corp., 2007 BCSC 582, Madam Justice Martinson states at para. 27:

27        As a general rule the Court must consider whether in the circumstances of the case the interests of justice justify the withdrawal of the admission. The following factors, which are not exhaustive are relevant: delay, loss of a trial date, a party is responsible for an erroneous admission, inadvertence in the making of the admission and estoppel. See Meisenholder v. Wikdahl, 2005 BCSC 630 and Hamilton v. Ahmed. A deemed admission can be withdrawn even where the failure to reply was deliberate: Linear S.R.L. c. CCC – Canadian Communications Consortium Inc. 2001 BCSC 682.

[20]         I am satisfied that the interests of justice do not justify the withdrawal of the deemed admission.

[21]         I have reviewed the factors set out by Madam Justice Martinson in 374787 B.C. Ltd. and affirmed by the Court of Appeal. This claim was filed October 6, 2008. It is almost four years since the date of the accident. There is a trial date scheduled for April 11, 2011. Discoveries have been conducted. The notice of motion was not filed until May 28, 2010, although the defence notified the plaintiff in September of 2009 that they were attempting to withdraw their admission of liability. I find that the delay of the defendant bringing this application, from the time of the accident to now, is a concern which cannot be overcome.

[22]         The trial date scheduled for April 11, 2011, is not imminent and, therefore, not necessarily at risk for losing the date.

[23]         There was no evidence put before this court with respect to the status of the vehicle. It is unknown if it is even available for inspection. The plaintiff specifically pleads in the statement of claim the condition of the brakes. That should have alerted the adjuster and defence. Even if the admission was inadvertent, there appears to be an element of simply not paying attention to the pleadings.

[24]         Withdrawing the admission at this late date would be prejudicial to the plaintiff. The plaintiff has acted to his detriment by relying on the admission.

[25]         I find that the interests of justice would not be served by allowing the withdrawal of the admission at this date.

[26]         In the result, I dismiss the application of the defendant. Costs will go to the plaintiff in any event of the cause.


Withdrawing Deemed Admissions: Rule 7-7(5) Given First Judicial Consideration

September 15th, 2010

Under both the old and the new BC Supreme Court Civil Rules parties to a lawsuit could ask the opposing side to make binding admissions through a “Notice to Admit”.  If the opposing side fails to respond to the Notice in the time lines required they are deemed to have made the sought admissions.  Once the admission is made it cannot be withdrawn except by consent of the parties or with the Court’s permission.  Reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, New Westminster Registry, considering when deemed admissions could be withdrawn under the New Rules.

In today’s case (Weiss v. Koenig) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2006 motor vehicle collision.  He claimed he sustained various injuries including bilateral hearing impairment.  In the course of the lawsuit ICBC asked the Plaintiff to make various admissions including an admission that his hearing was not affected as a result of the collision.  The Plaintiff failed to respond to the Notice to Admit in time thus was deemed to make the admissions.  The Plaintiff brought a motion to set these admissions aside and ICBC opposed.

Master Keighley granted the motion and set aside the admissions.  In doing so the Court noted that the admissions were made by inadvertence and that there was little prejudice to ICBC if these admissions were set aside.

This is the first decision I’m aware of applying Rule 7-7(5) of the new Rules of Court.  The Court noted that the new rule is almost identical as the old rule and implies that the precedents developed under the old Rule 31 remain good law.  Master Keighley set out and applied the following test in addressing the application:

Is there a triable issue which in the interests of justice should be resolved on the merits and not disposed of by deemed admission? In applying the test, all of the circumstances should be taken into account including:

1.         That the admission has been made inadvertently, hastily, or without knowledge of the facts.

2.         That the fact admitted was not within the knowledge of the party making the admission.

3.         That the fact admitted is not true.

4.         That the fact admitted is one of mixed fact and law.

5.         That the withdrawal of the admission would not prejudice a party.

6.         That there has been no delay in applying to withdraw the admission.