Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, declining to award a Defendant trial costs despite the Plaintiff receiving judgement for less than their pre trial settlement offers.
In today’s case (Wiseman v. Wang) the Plaintiff was injured in a collision and sued for damages. Prior to a February 19, 2019 trial the Defendant made two formal settlement offers. On June 13, 2018 the Defendant offered to settle the plaintiff’s claims for $100,000 new money plus costs and was open for acceptance until 4:00 pm on the last business day prior to the commencement of trial. A second offer was delivered on February 13, 2019 and offered to settle the plaintiff’s claims for $150,000 new money plus costs. It was also open for acceptance until 4:00 pm on the last business day before the commencement of trial.
At trial the Plaintiff’s damages were assessed at $79,000. The Court noted that trial “could have resulted in a much higher award” but reliability problems with the Plaintiff’s own evidence prevented a more favourable result.
The Defendant sought trial costs in these circumstances but the Court declined. In dismissing the defence application the Court noted that the Plaintiff was ‘emotionally and mentally fragile‘ and the timing of the second offer made it such that costs consequences should not be triggered. Mr. Justice Davies provided the following reasons: