Plaintiff Stripped of $56,207 of Costs and Disbursements for Not Beating Formal Defense Offer at Trial
Reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, highlighting the judicial flexibility and potential financial risks that come into play when a formal offer of settlement is not beat at trial.
In today’s case (Park v. Targonski) the Plaintiff was injured in a collision and sued for damages. Prior to trial the Defendants made a formal offer of $321,407. The Plaintiff declined this offer and proceeded to trial where she was awarded $302,643 after applicable statutory deductions.
The Defendants asked the Court to strip the Plaintiff of her post offer costs and disbursements of $56,207 and further to pay the Defendants’ post offer costs and disbursements of $63,769.
The Court found that the offer ought to have been accepted and that it was appropriate to strip the Plaintiff of her post offer costs and disbursements. The Court noted, however, that awarding the Defendant their costs would create “an unduly punitive sanction”. In reaching this conclusion Mr. Justice Fitch provided the following reasons:
 Upon consideration of the above-noted factors, as well as the overall purpose of the rules respecting formal offers, I conclude that, pursuant to Rule 9-1(6)(a), the plaintiff shall have her costs at Scale B up to the date of the offer to settle, but not thereafter. The costs sanction to the plaintiff arising from this order is significant. She will be denied her costs and disbursements totaling $56,207 from the date of service of the offer to settle.
 I have given close consideration to whether the defendants should be awarded all or a portion of their costs for steps taken in the proceeding after service of the offer to settle pursuant to Rule 9-1(6)(d). Balancing the applicable considerations as best I can, I have determined not to make this order. In my view, it is unnecessary to make this order to give effect to the purposes underlying the rule. More importantly, and for the reasons already given, doing so in this case would visit upon the plaintiff an unduly punitive sanction – one that fails to give any weight: (1) to the challenges associated with forecasting how a court might assess her loss of future earning capacity claim; and (2) to the plaintiff’s compromised ability to accurately evaluate her own situation.
 The parties will bear their own costs arising out of this application.