Examination For Discovery Transcripts and the Adverse Party Limitation

Although examination for discovery transcripts can be read into evidence at trial, the Rules of Court limit the evidence to being used against “the adverse party who was examined“.  In other words, a litigant can’t use their own transcript to bolster their own case.  Reasons for judgement were released last week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, demonstrating this limitation.
In last week’s case (Haughian v. Jiwa) the Plaintiff was involved in a motor vehicle collision.  The Defendant brought a summary trial application seeking to dismiss the claim.  The Plaintiff produced an affidavit which stated that “in my examination for discovery I described precisely how the accident occurred”  and went on to attach “as an exhibit 29 pages for her examination for discovery conducted by counsel for the defendants“.
The Defendant objected to this evidence arguing it was inadmissible.  Mr. Justice Punnett agreed and provided the following reasons explaining the limitation of discovery evidence at trial:

[8] The plaintiff’s affidavit appends portions of her examination for discovery by counsel for the defendants.  The defendants object to the tendering of discovery evidence in this way.

[9] Summary applications are based on affidavit evidence.  However, they are still trials and as such are governed by the rules and evidentiary requirements of a regular trial.  The followingSupreme Court Civil Rules (the “Rules”) are relevant:

9-7(5)  Unless the court otherwise orders, on a summary trial application, the applicant and each other party of record may tender evidence by any or all of the following:

(a)        an affidavit;

(c)        any part of the evidence taken on an examination for discovery;

[10] However, the breadth of the statement in part (c) above is restricted by Rule 12-5(46) which provides:

(46)      If otherwise admissible, the evidence given on an examination for discovery by a party … may be tendered in evidence at trial by any party adverse in interest, unless the court otherwise orders, but the evidence is admissible against the following persons only:

(a)        the adverse party who was examined;

[12] The defendants’ objection is that only the defendants can tender the plaintiff’s examination for discovery evidence.  They rely on the rules cited above as well as Tesscourt Capital Ltd. v. FG Nutraceutical Inc., 2011 BCSC 814; Mikhail v. Northern Health Authority (Prince George Regional Hospital), 2010 BCSC 1817; Schwartz v. Selkirk Financial, 2004 BCSC 313; Pete v. Terrace Regional Health Care Society, 2003 BCCA 226; Great Canadian Oil Change v. Dynamic Ventures et al, 2002 BCSC 1295, and Shiels v. Shiels (1997), 29 B.C.L.R. (3d) 193 (S.C.).

[13] I am satisfied that the discovery evidence sought to be introduced by the plaintiff cannot be relied upon by the plaintiff for the truth of its contents.

bc injury law, examination for discovery, Haughian v. Jiwa, Mr. Justice Punnett, Rule 12, Rule 12-5, Rule 12-5(46), Rule 12-5(46)(a)

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ERIK
MAGRAKEN

Personal Injury Lawyer

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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