Diminished Capacity Claims Open Door To Broad Cross Examination
Reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Court of Appeal addressing the broad scope of permissible cross examination when a Plaintiff advances a claim for diminished earning capacity.
In this week’s case (McBryde v.Womack) the Plaintiffs were injured in various motor vehicle collisions. Their claims proceeded to trial by Jury where only modest damages were assessed. The Plaintiffs appealed arguing numerous errors including the scope of the cross examination discussing government financial benefits that were received. The Court of Appeal held that no overriding errors occurred at trial and upheld the Jury verdict. In finding the broad cross examination fair game the Court provided the following comments:
 Ms. Golestani contends that she should not have been cross-examined about receiving government financial assistance when immigrating to Canada or about leaving her studies to pursue the business opportunity with Mr. McBryde. Ms. Golestani initiated proceedings to recover damages from some of the respondents, and in so doing placed a number of matters in issue, including her earning capacity and her occupational goals. In my view, the cross-examination complained of was an attempt to explore these issues, and did not exceed the permissible limits of cross-examination.