Speculation of Further Lawsuit Not Enough To Trigger Adjournment

Reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, addressing whether an adjournment should be granted in the face of a recent collision.
In today’s case (Wall v. Kexiong) the Plaintiff was involved in three collisions and sued for damages with the claims being scheduled for trial at the same time.  The Plaintiff was then involved in a fourth collision where liability was apparently in dispute.  The Plaintiff did not start a lawsuit but the Defendant argued the scheduled trials should be adjourned in the event the Plaintiff commenced a further action.  In declining to adjourn the trials based on this speculative development Master Muir provided the following reasons:

[5]             The defendant relies on the Court of Appeal decision in Garcia v. Drinnan, 2013 BCCA 53, which discusses the problems of separate trials in cases of indivisible injuries and the potential for overlapping or inconsistent treatments of the same facts, overlapping forms of proof, and the court quotes from the judge below:

[15] The issue of the extent of the indivisible injuries, as well as the assessment of the damages suffered as a result of them are issues that must be answered in both actions, as will be the issue of whether the plaintiff has appropriately mitigated his damages. On the face of it, it is possible for the finder of fact in each case to come to a different conclusion on those issues. That may well be embarrassing to the administration of justice.

[6]             I do not disagree with the defendant’s view of the issues where there are indivisible injuries. It is common that sequential accidents that result in indivisible injuries are tried together for precisely the reasons advanced by the defendant.

[7]             The concern that I have here is that, with respect to the fourth accident, there has been no action commenced, and although the defendant urges on me that it is almost a certitude that the fourth accident will result in an action, that remains still, in my view, a matter of some speculation.

[8]             The plaintiff advances significant prejudice if there is a delay in this matter. Hence, counsel says that if there is an adjournment, she should have a significant advance in the amount of approximately $80,000 to allow her to deal with the financial impact that these matters have had on her, and points out that the first accident occurred in May of 2010, five years ago.

[9]             In all of the circumstances, as I said, although I would generally in circumstances of indivisible injury grant the order sought by the defendant, given the prejudice to the plaintiff and in the circumstances that the fourth action has not been commenced, I find that it would be inappropriate to grant the order sought, and I decline to do so.

Adjournment Applications, bc injury law, Master Muir, Wall v. Kexiong

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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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