Plaintiff's "Financial Situation" Shields Her From Loser Pays Costs

A short but interesting exchange can be found at the end of reasons for judgement recently published by the BC Supreme Court, Chilliwack Registry, discussing loser pays costs and a Plaintiff’s financial circumstances.
In the recent case (Hunstad v. Cormier) the Plaintiff was injured when her bicycle was involved in a collision with the Defendant’s vehicle.  She sued for damages but her claim was dismissed at trial.  The Defendant sought costs but the Court declined to award these given the Plaintiff’s financial circumstances. This is an interesting development because while the financial position of parties can be considered if a formal offer has been made, it has been held that it is an irrelevant consideration in the normal course.  The below brief exchange, while arguably not conclusive as it is not a final order, can arguably be used to open the door to financial hardship as a factor when considering BC’s ‘loser pays’ costs consequences:
 
[86]         MR. KENT-SNOWSELL: Costs, My Lord?
[87]         THE COURT: I am not going to order costs because of Ms. Hunstad’s financial situation. If you want to make some submissions on that, I will consider it, but I don’t think they are appropriate in the circumstances.
[88]         MR. KENT-SNOWSELL: I will seek instructions.
[89]         THE COURT: Thank you.

bc injury law, Hunstad v. Cormier, Loser pays, Mr. Justice Brown, RUle 14, Rule 14-1, Rule 14-1(9)

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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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