A Jury "Does Not and Can Not Have a Role in Determining Costs"
Reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, Cranbrook Registry, confirming a post trial ‘costs swing’ should not be avoided because the net payment will be less than a jury intended.
In today’s case (Grieve v. Bennett) the Plaintiff was injured in two motor vehicle collisions. Prior to trial ICBC made a formal settlement offer of $196,300. The Plaintiff declined this offer and proceeded to trial seeking over $1 million in damages. The jury verdict came in at $140,300.
In arguing that the Defendant should not be awarded post offer costs the Plaintiff noted that the costs swing would be some $80,000 and this would “thwart” the intentions of the jury. In rejecting this submission Mr. Justice Steeves noted as follows:
 The plaintiff submits that awarding costs to the defendants from the date of their offer (January 16, 2015) would thwart the clear intention of the jury because it would reduce the amount available to the plaintiff by about $80,000. This figure includes the costs of the defendants (estimated by counsel for the plaintiff to be $54,000). It also includes the costs of the plaintiff because the effect of awarding the defendants costs would “deprive the plaintiff of his costs.”
 In my view the answer to this submission is that the jury does not and cannot have a role in determining costs. Their role is to assess damages not costs. It follows that I do not agree with the plaintiff on this issue.