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Tag: Delgiglio v. British Columbia (Public Safety and Solici

Double Costs Awarded to Plaintiff After Besting Formal Settlement Offer

Reasons for judgement were released recently by the BC Supreme Court, New Westminster Registry, addressing costs consequences following a trial where a Plaintiff bested his formal settlement offer.
In the recent case (Delgiglio v. British Columbia (Public Safety and Solicitor General)) the Plaintiff was injured after a RCMP officer ran a red light resulting in a collision.  The officer was found negligent at trial and damages of just over $330,000 were assessed.
Prior to trial the Plaintiff provided a formal settlement offer of $175,000.  The Plaintiff sought double costs for besting the offer.  In finding it appropriate to award double costs Madam Justice Gropper provided the following reasons:

Consideration of the factors

Was the offer one that ought reasonably to have been accepted?

[6] At the time the offer was made, the parties were approximately two weeks to trial. They had exchanged all the documents, the examinations for discoveries were complete and all the medical reports were exchanged.

[7] The defendants’ response is that the case reflected complex causation issues involving indivisible injuries.

[8] I consider this factor to favour the plaintiff’s position. While causation was a significant issue, it was addressed by the plaintiff’s physicians in their medical legal reports. The defendants did not tender any medical legal reports. The defendants had the plaintiff’s medical legal reports at the time the offer was made and was therefore in a position to evaluate the offer in spite of its consistent position in respect of causation.

Relationship of Offer and Judgment

[9] The plaintiff asserts that the offer of November 15, 2011 contained a meaningful element of compromise. He also argues that the assessment of damages significantly exceeded the compromise of settlement which the plaintiff offered two weeks before the trial. The defendants state no position in respect of this factor. This factor supports the plaintiff’s position.

Relative financial circumstances

[10] This factor is self evident: the plaintiff is an individual and the defendants have significant resources available. This factor supports the plaintiff’s position.

Other factors

[11] The plaintiff raises the defendants’ contact, particularly in regard to the question of liability.

[12] While I have found that the defendants were entirely liable for the accident, I do not consider that this constitutes a basis for awarding double costs to the plaintiff.

[13] Based upon the application of the factors referred to in Rule 9-1(6), I find that the plaintiff is entitled to his costs at Scale B up to November 14, 2011, and double costs thereafter. The plaintiff is entitled to his assessable disbursements. The double costs rule does not apply to disbursements.

$80,000 Non-Pecuniary Damage Assessment For Aggravation of Pre-Existing Back Pain; Indivisible Injuries Discussed

Reasons for judgement were released last week assessing damages for a permanent aggravation of pre-existing back and neck injuries as a result of a collision.
In last week’s case (Delgiglio v. British Columbia (Public Safety and Solicitor General)) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2009 collision.  His vehicle was struck by an RCMP cruiser that ran a red light.  The Defendant motorist claimed the crash happened due to faulty brakes but the Court rejected this suggestion and found the officer fully at fault.
The Plaintiff suffered from various pre-existing injuries including chronic back pain.  Despite this he was able to work.  Following the 2009 collision his injuries were aggravated and disabled the Plaintiff from his occupation as a truck driver.  The Plaintiff’s disability was expected to continue.   In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $80,000 Madam Justice Gropper made the following findings:

[91] The evidence supports, and I have found, that Mr. Del Giglio suffered a re-aggravation of his neck and lower back pain in the January 2009 accident. He has reached a plateau in his recovery. He has not returned to his baseline level of activity which he enjoyed before the accident. He has not returned to his pre-accident level of pain. Though initially optimistic, Mr. Del Giglio’s physicians are all of the view that his prognosis is “guarded at best.”

[92] Mr. Del Giglio has suffered pain and loss of enjoyment of his life. The injuries have had a serve impact. I accept that Mr. Del Giglio’s pain has been distressful and have affected his emotional state. Despite Dr. Monk’s not having diagnosed depression, Dr. Purtzki did find such symptoms, which are anticipatable, given the reduction in the activities, including the ability to work, which Mr. Del Giglio has experienced.

[93] On the other hand, Mr. Del Giglio has been able to maintain his musical career, a vocation that he clearly thrives upon. That is a factor which I will take into account.

[94] A further factor is that Mr. Del Giglio is aging and some deterioration in his cervical spine is, in Dr. McKenzie’s words, “not uncommon.”  I accept that he would have had some increased pain at some point, but the accident accelerated the onset…

[97] Having reviewed the cases provided, I conclude a fair and reasonable award for non-pecuniary damages is $80,000.

In addition to the above this case is worth reviewing for the Court’s discussion of indivisible injuries at paragraphs 73-86 of the reasons for judgement and the arguments of defence regarding the effects of a release for a previous collision contributing to an indivisible injury.