"It Makes Little Sense" To Require Continuous Particulars of Damages

Reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, Vernon Registry, finding that “it makes little sense to require a plaintiff to be continuously updating past wage loss and special damages claimed”.
In today’s case (Campbell v. Bouma) the Plaintiff was injured in a collision and sued for damages.  The claimed losses included past wage loss and special damages.  ICBC demanded that the Plaintiff provide particulars of “any claim of loss of earnings to date” and “of her out of pocket expenses”.
In dismissing these requests Master McDiarmid found that the Plaintiff was cooperative in the litigation and that it made little sense to require such claims to be particularized in the earlier stages of litigation.  The Court provided the following reasons:

[36]        The way the demand for particulars is framed, it seeks particulars in relation to past wage loss and ongoing or future wage loss. Future wage loss is usually awarded as a loss of capacity claim, unless there is a specific determinable actual future wage loss, such as known time off for future surgery.

[37]        It is trite, of course, that “past wage loss” is determined as of the date of trial. In this case, no trial date has been set.

[38]        Cases require trial management conferences. It is typical for the presider at a trial management conference to order particularization of wage loss and an updated particularization of special damages, so that the defendant is aware of those claims close to the trial date.

[39]        Applying proportionality principles, it makes little sense to require a plaintiff to be continuously updating past wage loss and special damages claimed; those claims should be disclosed as they are known to enable an efficient examination for discovery, but often do not require formal particularization, such that they become part of the pleadings, until close to the trial date…

[44]        The particularization sought respecting specials resulted in plaintiff’s counsel providing a document listing specials; virtually all of those listed specials appear to have been disclosed by the plaintiff in her June 17, 2014 list of documents.

[45]        The particularization sought respecting “wage loss” was actually for “loss of earnings both past and prospective.” An order for past wage loss particularization can be appropriate; as quoted by Walker J. in Mansoorciting Cullen J., at para. 19:

…Here the defendant is necessarily seeking particulars of the ongoing effect of the injuries on the ability of the plaintiff to earn income … Those are matters of evidence and logical reasoning and inference not amendable to particulars.

[46]        Unlike the situation in Mansoor, the defendant in this case has some wage information that was available between the date of the accident, September of 2011, and March 14, 2012. The evidence before me is that plaintiff’s counsel has written to the employer and, no doubt will be providing updated information when received. There was nothing communicated to the plaintiff or her counsel of any particular urgency; they were working under the assumption that information and resulting disclosure were required to enable the defendant sufficient time to prepare for an examination for discovery scheduled for November 3, 2015.

[47]        Exercising my discretion after considering all of the circumstances in this case and applying proportionality, as I am required to do, the orders sought for particulars in paragraphs 1 and 2 of the notice of application are dismissed.

bc injury law, Campbell v. Bouma, Master McDiarmid, Particulars, requests for particulars

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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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