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Double Costs Awarded Following Liability Trial With Formal Settlement Offer In Place

One issue that was unclear under the new BC Supreme Court Rules was weather a formal settlement offer could trigger costs consequences following a liability only trial with quantum of damages still outstanding.  Reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, answering in no uncertain terms that this was possible.
In this week’s case (Pike v. Dandiwal) the Plaintiff was injured in a 2007 collision.  Liability was disputed.  A liability only trial was heard and ultimately the Defendant was found wholly at fault for the crash.  Prior to trial the Plaintiff issued a formal settlement offer addressing the liability issue.  The Defendant provided a global settlement offer with a specific quantum.  Having succeeded on the issue of liability the Plaintiff sought double costs.
The Defendant argued that “costs should not be determined until after the assessment of damages because if Mr. Pike does not beat the dollar amount of the defendants’ offer, he should be denied his costs not only in respect of that (second) trial but this trial in which he was successful.“.  In rejecting this submission the Court noted that “no caselaw has been provided in support of this submission“.  In awarding double costs Mr. Justice Walker provided the following reasons:
[38]         In my view, double costs should be awarded to Mr. Pike. I find it most troubling that defence counsel has not brought me any case law to support his submissions. We are now at 5:05 p.m. I am going to impose a stay on the operation of my judgment for costs for 48 hours to allow the defendants the opportunity to find case law that supports their position, because the last thing I wish to do is commit an error in law.
[39]         If the defendants find that case law and wish to seek to have me reconsider my decision, I will hear it, so long as I receive advice of that by next Wednesday at noon through Trial Scheduling. Otherwise, the order will stand that the defendants pay double costs to Mr. Pike.
The Court then confirmed this result in supplementary reasons once no case-law was produced with the following reasons:
[1]             In my oral Reasons for Judgment dated October 5, 2012, I awarded double costs to the plaintiff.  I allowed counsel for the defendants 48 hours to provide me with case law supportive of their costs submissions.  On October 11, 2012 counsel for the defendants advised me through Trial Scheduling that no case law was located.  Accordingly, the plaintiff is entitled to an award of double costs.

bc injury law, Mr. Justice Walker, Pike v. Dandiwal, Rule 9, Rule 9-1, Rule 9-1(6)