Two Sets of Costs Approrpriate When Two Actions Are Combined for Trial
Reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, addressing what costs are payable when two actions, set for trial at the same time, settle prior to trial.
In today’s case (Wang v. Dhaliwal) the Plaintiff was involved in two collisions and filed separate lawsuits both of which were set to be heard at the same time. The cases settled for trial for an agreed sum plus costs. The Plaintiff argued that two sets of costs were warranted while the Defendant suggested a single set of costs was appropriate given ‘the efficiencies achieved by having the cases joined“. In agreeing that two sets of costs were appropriate District Registrar Nielsen provided the following reasons:
21] Although the two actions were ordered to be tried together, by consent, they involved different defendants and the issues were not identical: liability had been denied in the December 15, 2010 action and an allegation of contributory negligence had been raised by the defendant in the June 14, 2011 action. Further, the defendants required two examinations for discovery of the plaintiff in the two separate actions and the plaintiff had to conduct an examination for discovery of each defendant in the two actions.
 The only commonality in the two actions was the fact that they involved injuries to the same plaintiff. In the circumstances, it was appropriate to bring two separate legal actions involving the different defendants and circumstances. It was equally appropriate to eventually join the cases for the purposes of trial once it became apparent this approach was workable and efficiencies would be achieved…
 There will be circumstances where two sets of Civil Rule 15-1 costs will not be appropriate. In the presence case, the defendants have had the benefit of the streamlined process of Civil Rule 15-1 and the benefit of the two actions having been combined for the purpose of being heard together. The defendants have also had the further benefit of two separate legal actions having been commenced, which allowed the plaintiff to be examined for discovery twice, once in each action. In both actions, trial preparation was substantially completed.
 In the circumstances, the sum of $6,500 in fees is awarded for each action, with applicable taxes.