Pending Appeal No Reason For Trial Judge Not To Finalize Costs
Short and to the point reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, awarding a plaintiff double costs after proceeding to trial and besting a pre-trial settlement offer.
In the recent case (Codling v. Sosnowsky) the Plaintiff was injured in a motor vehicle collision. Prior to trial she made a formal settlement offer for $55,000. ICBC rejected this and proceeded to trial where she was awarded just over $70,000. The Court awarded the Plaintiff double costs for besting the offer. ICBC argued that it was premature to settle costs as the case was under appeal. Mr. Justice Smith quickly disposed of this argument providing the following reasons:
 The defendant also says it is premature to deal with costs because he has filed an appeal and even partial success could reduce the award to an amount below the offer to settle. I do not accept that argument. The duty of this court is to finalize its own judgment. If the Court of Appeal finds that judgment to be in error, the costs consequences will change accordingly.
In confirming that this was an appropriate case for double costs Mr. Justice Smith reasoned as follows:
 On the basis of the evidence that the parties could reasonably have anticipated being called at trial, I find that the plaintiff’s offer represented a reasonable effort to assess her possible recovery. It was one the defendant should have recognized as being within the range of possible awards and ought reasonably to have been accepted, particularly when weighed against the cost of going to trial. I recognize that liability was denied and the plaintiff’s offer made no apparent discount for risk on that issue, but this was a rear-end collision and the defendant had little prospect of success on liability or contributory negligence.