Examination For Discovery Evidence and Proper Procedure at Summary Trials

Update July 19, 2013 the below decision was upheld in reasons for judgement released today by the BC Court of Appeal
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Reasons for judgement were released last week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, discussing the introduction of examination for discovery evidence at a summary trial.
In the recent case (Mawani v. Pitcairn) the Plaintiff was injured in a pedestrian/vehicle collision.  Fault was disputed and following a summary trial Mr. Justice Kelleher found both parties equally to blame.
In the course of the summary trial the Plaintiff tendered an affidavit which attached the transcript from the Defendant’s examination for discovery as an exhibit.   The Plaintiff’s application response clearly indicated that the Plaintiff was only relying on specific questions and answers from the examination.  Despite this the Defendant argued that the entire transcript was put in evidence by the Plaintiff therefore the Plaintiff was bound by the unhelpful answers.
Mr. Justice Kelleher rejected this argument finding that in circumstances where the Plaintiff clearly identifies the specific questions he is relying on such a harsh result is not justified.  The Court provided the following reasons:

[23]At the hearing before me, the defendant argued that the entire examination for discovery of the defendant is before me.  That is because of para. 46 of the earlier ruling:

[46]      … Neither the deposition evidence nor Mr. Pitcairn’s examination for discovery are tendered as part of Mr. Pitcairn’s case.  If they are before me at all, they are before me as part of Mr. Mawani’s case.  His evidence, as matters currently stand, includes both the entirety of the examination for discovery evidence, and an affidavit from Ms. Forrest disclosing those portions of the examination for discovery he intends to rely on.  It also includes the entirety of the deposition evidence, but as I already noted, the rules do not provide for the admissibility of the deposition on summary trial unless arguably the court makes an order for its admission.  As I have also noted, there has been no application yet made by any party for that deposition evidence to be received in whole or in part.

[24]I disagree with the defendant that the entire examination for discovery is before me.  Mr. Justice Harris went on to direct, at para. 69, that plaintiff’s counsel file an application response which sets out the material on which he relies as part of the evidence in his case.  Mr. Gourlay did that on February 29, 2012.

[25]Mr. Arvisais argues that the entire transcript is in evidence.  In a conventional trial, the transcript would not be an exhibit.

[26]The application response filed February 29, 2012, makes it clear that the plaintiff is relying on certain questions and answers only.  Despite Mr. Justice Harris’s statement at para. 46 of his reasons, which were published before the application response was filed, the plaintiff does now make clear what questions and answers are relied upon.  The attachment of the entire transcript of the examination for discovery is consistent with the “proper procedure” outlined by Burnyeat J. in Newton v. Newton, 2002 BCSC 14.

bc injury law, examination for discovery, Mawani v. Pitcairn, Mr. Justice Kelleher, Rule 12, Rule 12-5, Rule 12-5(46), Rule 12-5(49), Rule 9, Rule 9-7, Rule 9-7(5)

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ERIK
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When not writing the BC Injury Law Blog, Erik is the managing partner at MacIsaac & Company, based in Victoria, B.C. He is also involved with combative sports regulatory issues and authors the Combat Sports Law Blog.

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