Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, ordering that double costs be paid to a plaintiff who was awarded substantially more at trial than they were willing to settle their claim for.
In today’s case (Miller v. Resurreccion) the Plaintiff was injured in a collision and sued for damages. Prior to trial the Plaintiff offered to settle their claim for $200,000 plus costs and disbursements. ICBC, as insurer for the Defendant, refused offering a little more than half this amount. The Plaintiff proceeded to trial where her damages were assessed at $440,057.
The Plaintiff asked for double costs for trial. In finding such an award was warranted due to ICBC’s “unreasonable” refusal to accept the Plaintiff’s offer Madam Justice Baker provided the following reasons:
Reasons for judgement were published today ordering double costs to a plaintiff who was awarded damages substantially above his settlement request following a vehicle injury.
In today’s case (Godbout v. Notter) the Plaintiff was injured in a a vehicle collision that the Defendant was at fault for. Following an unsuccessful mediation the Plaintiff provided a formal offer to settle his claim for $300,000. ICBC refused and offered 1/3 of this. At trial the Plaintiff was awarded damages totalling $583,199.36 for non-pecuniary loss, past wage loss, future lost earnings, future care costs, loss of housekeeping capacity and special damages.
The Plaintiff was then awarded double costs for ICBC’s unreasonable refusal to accept the Plaintiff’s settlement offer. In finding double costs were warranted Mr. Justice Jenkins provided the following reasons:
Reasons for judgement were published last week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, demonstrating the discretionary nature of double costs awards following the dismissal of a personal injury claim.
In last week’s case (Findlay v. George) the Plaintiff was involved in a significant 2013 collison. The crash left the defendant motorist dead at the scene. The Plaintiff “attempted to assist with the rescue and resuscitation of the defendant at the scene and, in the result, suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder “.
The Plaintiff’s damages were potentially significant with the Court noting “given the commonality of the medical evidence, damages could have reached seven figures.”.
Prior to trial ICBC provided a formal settlement offer of $80,000. The Plaintiff declined and proceeded to trial where the claim was dismissed based on liability. ICBC sought double costs. Mr. Justice Harvey refused to grant these noting costs awards are discretionary and given the potential damages at play and further some evidence where contributory negligence could have been established it was reasonable for the Plaintiff to proceed to trial in the face of this offer. In declining to award double costs the Court provided the following reasons:
Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Kelowna Registry, ordering ICBC to pay double costs after their ‘unreasonable refusal’ to accept a sensible settlement offer in an injury claim.
In today’s case (Stark v. Bartier) the Plaintiff was injured in a collision and sued for damages. Prior to trial the Plaintiff sought to settle her claim for $70,000 plus costs. ICBC refused to accept. At trial ICBC was ordered to pay almost 80% more with a final judgement of $126,430.
The Plaintiff applied for an order of double costs
Although the recent ICBC and BC Government narrative attempts to paint injury claimants in an unreasonable light in reality ICBC often refuses reasonable settlement offers only to be ordered to pay far more at trial. Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Vernon Registry, demonstrating such a result.
In the recent case (Moreira v. Crichton) the Plaintiff was injured in a 2013 collision. The Defendant admitted fault. The crash resulted in chronic pain with a poor prognosis. This in turn resulted in real disability and significant past and future medical costs and wage loss. The Plaintiff made a formal settlement offer of $480,000. ICBC refused to pay and the matter proceeded to trial where the Plaintiff’s claim was valued over $800,000. ICBC was ordered to pay double costs for refusing the Plaintiff’s reasonable settlement efforts.
Today the Court assessed these costs at $33,264 and ordered that ICBC pay this over and above the value of the claim. Unreasonable positions by litigants have consequences. Here ICBC was ordered to pay a substantial penalty for refusing to treat the plaintiff fairly. In reaching this assessment of costs Master McDiarmid provided the following reasons:
 This is an assessment of costs following a trial before Mr. Justice Betton. The trial was heard in late January and early February 2018; Betton J.’s Reasons for Judgment were rendered on July 31, 2018 cited at Moreira v. Crichton, 2018 BCSC 1281. The total judgment was $804,914.48.
 The plaintiff had offered to settle for $480,000.00 by way of a formal offer to settle on May 23, 2017. In a subsequent hearing in front of Betton J. on December 18, 2018, he ordered that the plaintiff was entitled to costs, including double costs after May 23, 2017…
 That totals 270 units at $110.00 per unit for a subtotal of $29,700.00, plus 7% PST of $2,079.00 and 5% GST of $1,485.00 for a total of tariff item costs, inclusive of taxes, of $33,264.00. The disbursements on a Bill of Costs should reflect my decision, together with the effect of my decision on applicable taxes on disbursements.
 The disbursements on that Bill of Costs should reflect my decision, together with the effect of my decision on applicable taxes.
 If required, plaintiff’s counsel may submit to me a revised Bill of Costs and certificate, in accordance with these reasons.
Reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, New Westminster Registry, ordering a Plaintiff to pay double costs to a Defendant after a jury dismissed her injury claim.
In the recent case (Brar v. Ismail) the Plaintiff alleged injury following a collision and sued for damages. Prior to trial the Defendants offered to settle for $50,000. A further offer of $65,000 was tabled. Neither side compromised and the Plaintiff proceeded to trial where damages of over $500,000 were sought. The Defendants attacked the Plaintiff’s credibility and introduced surveillance evidence which the court called “compelling”.
The Jury ultimately dismissed the claim. In ordering that the Defendants were entitled to pre offer costs and post offer double costs Mr. Justice Myers provided the following reasons:
 The issue of whether an offer to settle ought reasonably to have been accepted is determined by the factors existing at the time of the offer and not with the hindsight of a judgment or jury verdict.
 The main point this question hinges on is whether the credibility issues were obvious and significant enough to the plaintiff so that she ought to have accepted one of the offers.
 From at least the time the video surveillance was delivered, it was obvious that the plaintiff’s credibility would be front and center. There were inconsistencies between what it showed and what she relayed to her experts. It was also obvious these inconsistencies would have a significant impact on her case. I do not agree with the plaintiff that what was seen in the video was not far off what she had had told her experts or said in evidence. Often video surveillance is not compelling; here it was.
 Moreover, as argued by the defendants, the plaintiff also had further credibility difficulties that ought to have been apparent to her counsel:
· The plaintiff’s evidence was that she hit her head in the accident and had immediate dizziness and nausea including vomiting at the accident scene; however, these complaints were not documented in her GP’s records during her initial visit, which was only hours after the accident. Her GP testified that he would have made a note of these complaints if they were made to him.
· The plaintiff’s evidence that she was disoriented and vomited at the accident scene was contradicted by Mr. Ismail’s evidence and that of his brother;
· In her discovery, the plaintiff said she had not done any form of work, whether paid or voluntary. She had also stated during her examination for discovery that she never helped her husband in his business (even though she was president and 100% shareholder). However, at the trial she acknowledged she had in fact done work for her husband’s business since the accident. Further the surveillance video showed the plaintiff working at an elections voting station.
· At examination for discovery the plaintiff stated she did not have any other sources of income other than what she received from her employer, Swissport. She also said she did not own any other properties other than her primary residence. However, her income tax records showed significant amounts of rental income, and she later admitted at trial that she and her husband received rental income from a property she was on title for. Her reported rental income was more than she had ever earned from Swissport before the accident.
 I said I would return to the timing of the second offer There was nothing to prevent the defendants from providing the surveillance far sooner, given its importance; as noted above, it was completed in January 2018. The fact that it was disclosed in compliance with the rules does not mean that its timing cannot be a consideration with respect to the discretion to award double costs. As well the $65,000 offer, which was not delivered until five days before trial, could have been delivered sooner. This would have given the plaintiff more time to consider her position, without prejudicing the defendants. Therefore, in my view, the defendants should receive ordinary costs up to and including the first five days of trial and double costs after that.
Reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Chilliwack Registry, ordering a Plaintiff to pay double costs after having a personal injury lawsuit dismissed.
In the recent case (Sandhu v. Raveendran) the Plaintiff was a passenger in a vehicle driven by her husband which was involved in a parking lot collision with another vehicle with the Court noting “the contact between two vehicles was relatively superficial”. The lawsuit was ultimately dismissed with Mr. Justice Brown ruling “ In this case, I find a lack of convincing evidence that this minor, slow-moving parking lot accident caused the plaintiff any compensable injury. Accordingly, the plaintiff’s claims for damages are dismissed with costs.”
Prior to trial ICBC made a formal settlement offer of $5,000. ICBC asked for double costs. The court agreed noting the offer ought to have been accepted. In granting the request for double costs Mr. Justice Brown provided the following reasons:  The defendant submitted, reasonably, that considering the very minor nature of the collision, the plaintiff should have accepted the offer. Counsel for the defendants correctly pointed out no complicated issues required the plaintiff’s consideration before accepting the offer. There is no claim advanced for loss of past or future income and no future care costs claimed. Considering the very minor slow-motion contact between the vehicles, it cannot be reasonably maintained that there is any reasonable basis for such claims. ..  I find the defendants entitled to double costs for the period between the date of the offer to settle, March 1, 2017, and the commencement of trial, on March 7, 2017. Considering all the circumstances, the offer ought reasonably to have been accepted by the plaintiff.
Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Vernon Registry, confirming that an order for double costs does not also mean a party is entitled to double disbursements.
In today’s case (Lafond v. Mandair) the Plaintiff was injured in a collision and sued for damages. Prior to trial the Plaintiff made a formal settlement offer of $300,000. At trial the Plaintiff beat this quantum being awarded just over $343,000.
The Plaintiff sought double costs and disbursements. The Defendant agreed double costs were in order but argued that double disbursements were not recoverable. The Court agreed and in doing so provided the following succinct reasons:
 Double costs may be awarded for some or all steps taken after delivery of the offer to settle. A step in the proceeding is a formal step that moves the action forward: Canadian National Railway Company v. Chiu, 2014 BCSC 75 at para. 7.
 Incurring a disbursement is not a formal step as contemplated by the Civil Rules.
 I, therefore, conclude that under Rule 9-1(5)(b), double disbursements are not to be awarded as part of double costs. Thus, a successful offer to settle can be rewarded with an entitlement to double costs for tariff items, together with actual and reasonable disbursements.
Reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, New Westminster Registry, ordering a Plaintiff to pay double costs after the dismissal of an injury claim.
In today’s case (Ross v. Andrews) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2011 collision, alleged injury and sued for damages. Prior to trial the Plaintiff declined two formal settlement offers, the first for $41,000 the second for $75,000.
After 15 days of trial “the jury deliberated and determined that the plaintiff had not been injured in the motor vehicle accident”.
Under the loser-pays BC Supreme Court rules the Plaintiff was ordered to pay the Defendant’s costs and double costs from the time of the second offer onwards. After a 15 day jury trial it is a safe bet that the costs consequences would be in the tens of thousands of dollars. In finding double costs appropriate Mr. Justice Ball provided the following reasons:
20] The evidence aforesaid created significant areas where the credibility of the plaintiff was subject to negative findings by a jury. When those areas are added together the plaintiff ought to have actively considered any offer which offered a positive return without the risks of a trial.
 Based on a review of the evidence at trial, described in part above, and the cases cited, as well as a review of the submissions of counsel, I find that the offer to settle in the amount of $75,000 ought reasonably to have been accepted by the plaintiff having given consideration to the foreseeable credibility problems and the negative verdict of the jury. The offers to settle both included positive returns whereas at trial the plaintiff’s action was dismissed. The relative financial circumstances of the parties do not preclude an order for double costs in this situation. As a result, applying Rule 9-1 of the Supreme Court Rules, the defendants are entitled to the costs of this action generally and double costs of this action commencing on May 26, 2016. This date is seven days after the second offer to settle was delivered to the plaintiff; a reasonable period of time for the plaintiff to consider the offer. Double costs are awarded from May 26, 2016 until the end of the trial and will include the costs of the application to fix costs. The defendants are also entitled to disbursements but not doubled.
 If the parties are unable to agree on the quantum of costs and disbursements, there shall be a reference to the registrar to assess costs pursuant to Rule 14-1(4) of the Supreme Court Rules.
Reasons for judgement were released last week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, awarding a Plaintiff double costs after obtaining judgement nearly doubling her pre trial formal settlement offer.
In the recent case (Risling v. Riches-Glazema) the Plaintiff was inured in a motor vehicle collision and prior to trial made a formal settlement offer of $315,000. The Defendants rejected the offer and proceeded to trial where damages of $622,500 were awarded. The Plaintiff sought and was granted post offer double costs. In agreeing these were warranted Mr. Justice Affleck provided the following reasons:
 In my view:
a) The plaintiff’s case was well known to the defendants at the time of the offer. The plaintiff had been examined for discovery on two occasions; had attended two medical examinations at the request of the defendants, and a mediation had taken place in June 2016;
b) the offer was made one week before the trial began which gave the defendants a full opportunity to consider it;
c) the offer had a relationship to the claim and could not be characterized as a “nuisance offer”; and
d) the offer was expressed in plain language and thus easily evaluated.
 The final judgment of the court greatly exceeded the offer. The plaintiff submits her offer was a true attempt to reach a reasonable compromise of the claim and that the rationale for the double cost rule is to encourage parties to settle by taking a realistic view of the probable outcome of a trial. The plaintiff submits that rationale would be thwarted if in the present circumstances she is not entitled to double costs.
 The defendants submit their limited understanding of the case made it difficult to quantify the claim and that, while the rationale for the rule for double costs is acknowledged, the defendants ought not to have been deterred from defending the claim for fear of a “punishing costs award”. Currie v. McKinnon, 2012 BCSC 1165 is relied on in support of that argument.
 The defendants also submit that “no rationale for the offer was provided” in the plaintiff’s letter of August 15, 2016.
 I do not agree that no rationale was provided. The plaintiff described the heads of damages she would advance at the trial and advised that the offer took into account “Part 7 Benefits paid or payable pursuant to Section 83 of the Insurance (Vehicle) Act”. Furthermore, the defendants had an opportunity on the mediation to canvas fully with the plaintiff’s legal advisers the extent of the plaintiff’s claim and the evidence at trial which would be advanced to support the claim.
 I am also mindful that in Hartshorne the Court of Appeal expressed the view that the list of factors described in para. 27 of its reasons need not be relevant in every case.
 Currie v. McKinnon does not help the defendants on this application. That case involved a personal injury claim with an award of damages which fell within the monetary jurisdiction of the Small Claims Court. Double costs were not awarded. In short Currie v. McKinnon is distinguishable on its facts from the matter before me to such an extent that it cannot usefully be called in aid of the defendants’ argument.
 The plaintiff is entitled to the costs of this action including double costs from the date of the offer.
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.
This blog is authored by personal injury and ICBC Claims lawyer Erik Magraken. Use of the site and sending or receiving information through it does not establish a solicitor/client relationship. The views expressed and the content provided on this blog is for nonprofit educational purposes. It is not, and is not intended to be, legal advice on any specific set of facts. The use of this website does not create a solicitor-client (attorney-client) relationship. If you require legal advice, you should contact a lawyer directly.