CRT Dismisses “Placeholder” ICBC Benefits Lawsuits
Earlier this year BC’s Civil Resolution Tribunal (“CRT”) noted that their forum cannot be used to preserve limitation periods for ICBC no fault benefit lawsuits where no such past benefits are outstanding. Last week the CRT confirmed this position by dismissing such a ‘placeholder’ lawsuit.
In last week’s case (Yousefi v. ICBC) the Applicant filed a CRT action to preserve the right to seek ICBC no fault benefits should any such benefits be denied. The CRT noted that such claims cannot be indefinitely paused and if they are not withdrawn must proceed to judgement were they will be dismissed if no past benefits are outstanding.
In reaching such a disposition in this case Vice Chair Andrea Ritchie provided the following reasons:
22.I find that in the circumstances of this case, it is appropriate to dismiss Ms. Yousefi’s claims for accident benefits. I say this because despite being given several opportunities to further her claim, Ms. Yousefi has refused to indicate how she wants to proceed with the dispute, or to particularize her claim for accident benefits.
23.As noted above, Ms. Yousefi does not allege she has been denied any accident benefits, nor does she currently seek any specific entitlement to benefits. Rather, the Dispute Notice was only filed to preserve her limitation period to seek accident benefits at some time in the future. In Mu v. ICBC, 2020 BCCRT 267, I determined that is inconsistent with the CRT’s mandate and section 103 of the IVR which sets out the process for obtaining accident benefits.
24.I find Ms. Yousefi’s non-compliance with the CRT’s process is significant. I find to allow the dispute to continue would be inconsistent with the CRT’s mandate and would waste the CRT’s resources, given that Ms. Yousefi refuses to participate.
25.In considering the relative prejudice to the parties, I find there is no prejudice to Ms. Yousefi because dismissing this dispute does not prevent Ms. Yousefi from making a future application for a determination of entitlement to accident benefits if necessary, subject to the applicable limitation periods set out in section 103 of the IVR.
26.Given all the above, I dismiss this dispute.
27.Under its rules, the CRT can make orders about payment of fees or reasonable dispute-related expenses in the case of a withdrawal or dismissal. Given Ms. Yousefi’s non-compliance, I find no fee refund is justified, and none is ordered.