It Ain't Over Till It's Over- Fresh Evidence Allowed After Close of Injury Prosecution

After the conclusion of a personal injury trial it can take several weeks if not months before judgement is granted.  If relevant developments occur during this time the Court has discretion to re-open the trial.  Reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, Kamloops Registry, canvassing this area of the law.
In today’s case (Miley v. Abulaban) the Plaintiff sued for damages as a result of personal injuries.  42 days after the Defendant closed their case the Plaintiff sought to introduce fresh evidence that the Plaintiff was fired from his employment.  Despite the Defendant’s objections the Court allowed the evidence to be introduced and in doing so Madam Justice Hyslop provided the following reasons:
[8]             The plaintiff and defendants agree as to the law for the introduction of fresh evidence. The law is as stated by Madam Justice Satanove in Inmet Mining Corp. [v.] Homestake Canada Inc., 2002 BCSC 681, as follows:
[5]        The principles of law governing when a trial judge may re-open a case after judgment has been rendered, but before the order has been entered, has been discussed by our courts in a number of decisions. I have endeavoured to consolidate the applicable principles as follows:
1.         A trial judge has the unfettered discretion to re-open a case before the entry of the order, but the discretion must be exercised judicially and sparingly. (Sykes v Sykes (1995), 6 B.C.L.R. (3d) 296 (C.A.)).
2.         The purpose of the discretion to re-open is not intended to be an alternative method of appeal. (Cheema v. Cheema (2001), 89 B.C.L.R. (3d) 179 (S.C.)).
3.         Filing of a notice of appeal does not remove the discretion of a trial judge when a factual error has been identified (my emphasis). (Banyay v. Actton Petroleum Sales Ltd. (1996), 17 B.C.L.R. (3d) 216 (C.A.)).
4.         The discretion may be properly exercised where the trial judge is satisfied that the original judgment is in error because it overlooked or misconstrued material evidence or misapplied the law. (Clayton v. British American Securities Ltd., [1934] 3 W.W.R. 257 (B.C.C.A.)).
5.         It is not a proper basis for exercising the discretion if the applicant merely advances an alternative argument which could easily have been advanced at trial. (Cheema v.Cheema; Sykes v. Sykes). Where a court of competent jurisdiction has adjudicated upon a matter it will not (except under exceptional circumstances) re-open the same subject of litigation in respect of matters which might have been brought forward as part of the subject in contest, but were not. (Maynard v. Maynard, [1951] S.C.R. 346; Angle v. Canada (Ministry of National Revenue), [1975] 2 S.C.R. 248).
6.         New evidence is not an essential prerequisite to exercising the discretion. (Sykes v. Sykes).
[9]             Mr. Justice Ehrcke stated in Zhu v. Li, 2007 BCSC 1467, at para. 14:
The principles governing an application to adduce fresh evidence on an appeal are well-known. They were summarized succinctly by McIntyre J. in Palmer and Palmer v. The Queen, [1980] 1 S.C.R. 759 at p. 775:
(1) The evidence should generally not be admitted if, by due diligence, it could have been adduced at trial provided that this general principle will not be applied as strictly in a criminal case as in civil cases: see McMartin v. The Queen, [1964] S.C.R. 484.
(2) The evidence must be relevant in the sense that it bears upon a decisive or potentially decisive issue in the trial;
(3) The evidence must be credible in the sense that it is reasonably capable of belief, and
(4) It must be such that if believed it could reasonably, when taken with the other evidence adduced at trial, be expected to have affected the result.
[10]         The plaintiff offered to be examined by the defendants on this matter and the defendants have chosen not to do so. I see no purpose in the defendants pursuing this course of action as Mr. Miley may not have new employment and this would cause delay
[11]         I must say that it is not surprising that Mr. Miley lost his employment as a result of his lie. An employer relies on integrity and honesty of an employee. This is particularly so when a person applies for employment and represents his or her qualifications. Based on representations in résumés, an employee is given duties, responsibilities and remuneration accordingly.
[12]         Applying the principles set out above, Mr. Miley’s termination could not have been discovered by due diligence because the event of his firing had not occurred. The defendants argue that Mr. Miley knew that his résumé was false as to the representation that he had a degree when he knew he did not, and that he could have brought this to the attention of his employer at any time. That is true, but Mr. Miley did not know he would be caught and that his employer would terminate him, although as I stated earlier, it should not have been a surprise to Mr. Miley.
[13]         The evidence is credible as the documents are disclosed terminating Mr. Miley’s employment. I find that the documents produced by the plaintiff as to his termination are credible.
[14]         The evidence is relevant because although Mr. Miley is without employment, it may affect the issue of earning capacity or it may not, as at the time of trial Mr. Miley’s responsibilities and remunerations with Coast Capital were likely based, in part, on his having a degree. However, Mr. Miley testified that being a professional writer could be attained by education or by experience. Whether this testimony, given by Mr. Miley, was in anticipation that his lack of a degree would be revealed, I do not know.
[15]         The evidence of his termination is neutral.
[16]         I allow the plaintiff’s application and the evidence allowed is that Mr. Miley’s employment by Coast Capital has been terminated by them.

 

 

bc injury law, Fresh Evidence, Madam Justice Hyslop, Miley v. Abulaban

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If you would like further information or require assistance, please get in touch.

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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