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Revocation of a Formal Settlement Offer "Can Be Oral or Written"

Reasons for judgement were published last week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, confirming a formal offer to settlement made under the BC Supreme Court Rules can be revoked verbally or in writing.
In last week’s case (Ladret v. Stephens) the Plaintiff was injured in a collision and sued for damages. Prior to trial the Plaintiff made a formal offer to settle for $75,000.  A series of informal offers were then made by the parties before the trial commenced which was ultimately adjourned as no judge was available.   Following the passage of some time defence counsel gave notice that they were accepting the $75,000 formal offer.  The Plaintiff opposed this acceptance arguing the offer was revoked.  Mr. Justice Greyell agreed and provided the following reasons:
[29]         It is my view that that offer was not open for acceptance. It is my view, based on the facts that have been placed before me, that the offer of $75,000 had been withdrawn expressly during the telephone conversation and that the defendants in accepting that offer proceeded to do so on the mistaken belief that the withdrawal of the offer had to be in writing to be effective.
[30]         I am supported in that finding by the following paragraph in an e-mail sent by the defendants to Mr. Gourlay, a portion of which reads:
The crux is your formal did not stipulate an expiration and you did not revoke it. As such, it was open for acceptance by the defendants. As it was drafted, it was open for acceptance up until judgment. Although not required by Rule 9-1, if you intended to revoke your formal you would have to do so in writing.
[31]         The case law is clear that a revocation can be oral or written. The question is whether such revocation is clearly and unequivocally given, citing Janzen v. Janzen, 2011 BCSC 1146, 2011 B.C.J. No. 1605.
[32]         In my view, given the contents of the April 22nd discussion between Ms. Owen-Blas and Mr. Gourlay, it was clear the offer of $72,500 had been revoked, that offer in itself revoking the $75,000 prior offer.

Ladret v. Stephens, Mr. Justice Greyell, Rule 9, Rule 9-1, Withdrawing a Formal Offer

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