Tag: Edwards v. Ganzer

MSP and Pharmanet Printouts Disclosable on a Case by Case Basis


Two documents that ICBC routinely asks Plaintiff’s to produce in the course of personal injury lawsuits are MSP and Pharmanet Printouts.  These are documents which essentially keep track of all of a Plaintiff’s medical visits and prescription medication fillings.  Does a Plaintiff need to comply with a request to produce these documents?  Reasons for judgement were released last month by the BC Supreme Court, Victoria Registry, addressing this issue finding that these documents are not automatically producible but very well may be depending on the facts of the case.
In last month’s case (Edwards v. Ganzer) the Plaintiff was injured in a 2008 collision.  In the course of the lawsuit ICBC requested that the Plaintiff produce her MSP and Pharmanet Printouts for various periods of time.  Ultimately the Plaintiff was required to produce some of these records.  Prior to making the production order Master Bouck provided the following reasons addressing production requests for these records:

[51] Thus, in a personal injury action, a plaintiff’s MSP and Med Profile will not be ordered produced to the defence regardless of the facts of the case. At the very least, there must be some “air of reality” between the documents and the issues in the action: Moukhine v. Collins at para. 22.

[52] Correspondingly, decisions where the production of these kinds of records have been denied will likely have little or no precedential value to the plaintiff here as the facts are bound to differ from those in the case at bar.

[53] Neither of these propositions represents a change in the law since the introduction of the SCCR.

[54] What is new to this discussion is the role that proportionality plays in making an order under Rule 7-1(14). Although not specifically provided for in Rule 7-1, it is only logical that the court should take into account the objects stated in Rule 1?3 (2) when exercising its discretion with respect to compliance with the broader disclosure demand: see Kim v. Lin, 2010 BCSC 1386 at para. 29. Indeed, those objectives have been considered by the court in the decisions already cited.

[55] In terms of relevancy, the plaintiff has already acknowledged the relevancy of the MSP and Med Profile records by disclosing these records on her initial list of documents. It would seem apparent that the plaintiff concedes that this document ought to be produced under the Guano test.

[56] While the plaintiff’s submissions suggest that privacy concerns come into play, there is no evidence from the plaintiff herself (either directly or on information and belief) which might justify aHalliday form of order: Gorse v. Straker, 2010 BCSC 119 at paras. 12, 13 and 36.

[57] Paraphrasing the test set out in Global Pacific, the issue to be determined is whether the MSP and/or Med Profile records sought can properly be said to contain information which mayenable the defendant to advance his case or damage the case of the plaintiff, if it is a document which may fairly lead to a train of inquiry, or if it may have either of these consequences.

[58] Both the evidence and pleadings raised issues of mitigation (i.e. rehabilitation efforts; following professional advice on medication). In that respect, both the MSP and Med Profile record may enable the defence to prove that the plaintiff has failed to mitigate her damages. In addition, these records may serve the purpose described in Creed v. Dorio; that is, to test the credibility and reliability of the evidence presented by the plaintiff to date on her post-accident health.

[59] I have concluded that on the facts of this case, the plaintiff’s MSP record and the post-accident Med Profile ought to be listed and produced pursuant to the demand made under Rule 7-1(11).

Document Production Obligations and the New Supreme Court Civil Rules


One of the goals of the New Rules of Court was to make litigation “just, speedy and inexpensive” and to simplify the process.  One area where the Rules have fallen short of this goal is the area of pre-trial document disclosure obligations.  Under the former Rules parties were bound by one consistent (but arguably over-broad) test.  Now parties are met with a host of obligations which were well summarized in reasons for judgement released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Victoria Registry.
In this week’s case (Edwards v. Ganzer) the Plaintiff was injured in a motor vehicle collision.  A dispute arose with respect the Plaintiff’s disclosure obligations.  In resolving the dispute Master Bouck provided the following reasons summarizing the legal disclosure obligations (and dispute process) under Rule 7-1:

[39] Biehl v. Strang is the seminal decision of Punnett J. addressing (mostly) the primary obligation of document disclosure under Rule 7-1(1) (a). The remaining decisions touch upon, if not directly address, the document disclosure obligations under both Rule 7-1(1)(a) and Rule 7-1(14) of the SCCR.

[40] In addition, Master Baker has recently discussed the application of Rule 7-1 in Burgess v. Buell Distribution Corp., 2011 BCSC 1740.

[41] I understand the principles outlined in these various decisions, together with the applicable Rules, to be as follows:

a. The initial production obligation under Rule 7-1 (1) (a) (i) is limited to what is required to prove or disprove a material fact: Biehl v. Strang at para. 14;

b.  Rule 7-1(10) allows the opposing party to issue a written demand requiring the listing party to amend the original list and produce documents that should have been disclosed under Rule 7-1(1)(a)(i);

c.  In addition, Rule 7-1(11) allows the opposing party to issue a written demand requiring the listing party to amend the list and produce documents which ought to be disclosed under a test “close to” that set out in Compagnie Financiere et Commerciale du Pacifique v. Peruvian Guano Company (1882), 11 Q.B.D. 55 at 63, (the “Guano test”): Global Pacific at para. 9;

d.  The distinction between the two types of disclosure provided for under Rule 7-1 is stated in Global Pacific as follows:

The question is whether a document can properly be said to contain information which may enable the party requiring the document either to advance his own case or damage the case of his adversary, if it is a document which may fairly lead him to a train of inquiry, or if it may have either of those two consequences. Therefore, it is acknowledged that the initial disclosure under Rule 7-1(1) relates to a materiality requirement, but that a party can apply to the court, as the defendant did here, for broader disclosure pursuant to Rule 7-1(14).

(my emphasis.)

Para. 9

e.  Both the demand by the requesting party and the response of the opposing party should be set out in writing addressing the terms and criteria used in Rule 7-1. Whether the demand and response provide sufficient particularity is a matter of the court’s discretion;

f.  If an application is brought under Rule 7-1(13) for the listing or production of  documents, the court may either order compliance with the demand, excuse full compliance, or order partial compliance: Rule 7-1(14);

g.  The objectives of the SCCR, including proportionality, may be taken into account by the court when exercising its discretion under Rule 7-1(14). The proportionality rule can be applied to either expand or restrict the required production of documents: Global Pacific citing Whitcombe v. Avec Insurance Managers Inc., 2011 BCSC 204.

[42] Interestingly, a party may be excused from compliance with Rule 7-1(1) generally, but the court is not given the specific power to order compliance with a demand made for the listing and production of the so-called “materiality” documents. Rule 7-1(14) only specifically allows for an order requiring compliance with a broader disclosure demand under Rule 7-1(11): Global Pacific; Burgess v. Buell Distribution Corp. Whether this distinction is an oversight or intentional is difficult to say. It might well be the former, given that Rule 7-1(13) contemplates a compliance order by the court if a demand for the “material” documents is issued. The distinction is more fully canvassed in Burgess v. Buell Distribution Corp. at para. 15.

Contact

If you would like further information or require assistance, please get in touch.

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.

“Work hard, be kind and enjoy the ride!”
Erik’s Philosophy

Disclaimer