Tag: Master McDiarmid

Photocopy Disbursements Allowed at $0.25 per Page in ICBC Claim

(Update October 2, 2012The below post was upheld on appeal in reasons for judgement released today)
Reasons for judgement were released last week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, addressing reasonable photocopy expenses in a bill of disbursements.
In the recent case (Chow v. Nguyen) the parties could not agree to the reasonableness of various disbursements incurred in the prosecution of a personal injury claim.  In the course of the lawsuit the Plaintiff’s lawyer made 7,231 photocopies and claimed disbursements at $0.25 per copy.  ICBC argued this was unreasonable.  Master McDiarmid disagreed and allowed this disbursement as presented.  In doing so the Court provided the following reasons:

[4]Counsel for the defendant and third party also objected to the photocopy charges. She accepted plaintiff’s counsel’s representation that the 7,231 photocopies were in fact made. There was no argument that the photocopying was not necessary or proper; rather, the argument was that the 25¢ per page was excessive given the actual cost of photocopying. When assessing costs, a registrar must determine which disbursements have been necessarily or properly incurred in the conduct of the proceedings, and I must allow a reasonable amount for those disbursements (Rule 14-1(5) of the Supreme Court Civil Rules (the “Civil Rules”)).

[5]Pursuant to Rule 14-1(1) of the Civil Rules, I am to assess costs in accordance with Appendix B. Administrative Notice 5 effective July 1, 2010 directs that photocopying charges may be allowed at 25¢ per page on a party/party bill of costs. This amount is a guideline only. If it is shown that the actual cost was or should have been different from the guideline charges, the amounts allowed on an assessment may differ from the guideline amounts.

[6]The actual cost of photocopying is difficult to determine, in as much as it involves a combination of fixed costs, per page costs, and labour costs. There was no evidence before me to show what the actual cost was. I find that in the circumstances of this case, the number of photocopies was both necessary and proper, and I allow the photocopying charges as claimed in the amount of $1,807.75, plus applicable taxes.

This case is also worth reviewing for the Court’s discussion of document binding charges (dismissed as overhead) and the cost of fairly expensive expert reports which were allowed as being reasonable given the circumstanses of the case.

More on the Prohibition of Written Arguments in Chambers

Earlier this year Master Bouck released reasons for judgement discussing the Rule 8-1(16) prohibition of written argument in Chambers applicaitons finding as follows:
Since July 1, 2010 and pursuant to Rule 8-1(16), a written argument may only be presented to the court if the application consumes more than two hours.  There is no discretion under the Rule to receive written argument in other circumstances.  This application was estimated to be heard in 35 minutes but took one hour.
Thus, no written argument can or should have been considered by the court.
Reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, taking a less restrictive view.  In this week’s case (Simon Fraser University v. A & A Plumbing & Heating Ltd.) Master McDiarmid provided the following feedback about this limitation recognizing that appellate intervention or rules revision may be necessary:

[9] At the outset of the applications, plaintiff’s counsel handed me a 10-page document entitled “Plaintiff’s Submissions”.

[10] Defendant’s counsel objected.

[11] Her objection arises from Rule 8-1(16), which reads:

Unless an application is estimated to take more than 2 hours, no party to the application may file or submit to the court a written argument in relation to the application other than that included in the party’s notice of application or application response.

[12] The “Plaintiff’s Submissions” document was essentially the oral submissions I heard, written out. I found it helpful to have the document which included references in the affidavits to the facts set out in the notice of application.

[13] The concern, of course, is that the plaintiff had an unfair advantage. I was alive to that concern.

[14] I interpret “written argument” to refer to an expansion of Parts 2 and 3 of the notice of application by the addition of facts and/or by the raising of legal issues which takes the opposition by surprise.

[15] The “Plaintiff’s Submissions” document did not in my view raise additional facts; nor raise additional legal issues, and thus was not “written argument” within the meaning of Rule 8-1(16).

[16] This is a new provision in the Rules designed to ensure that sufficient details of the applicant’s argument are disclosed in the notice of application so that the response can deal with all points sought to be argued by the applicant. Presumably, the subrule is also aimed at reducing costs.

[17] The question is: does Rule 8-1(16) prevent the presentation of helpful written submissions which do not create surprise arguments and issues?

[18] I have decided it does not.

[19] Counsel’s objection raises a point which may need to be dealt with further, either by appeal from this decision or, preferably, clarification to the Rules. Provision of these sorts of documents is quite common. I will bring this matter to the attention of the Rules Committee. That does not, and is not intended to, forestall an appeal.

ICBC Part 7 Exam Once Again Thwarts Defence Medical Exam Request

Earlier this month I discussed a case dismissing a defence application for an ‘independent’ medical exam where the Plaintiff already attended an ICBC arranged medical examination.  Further reasons for judgement were released by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, with the same disposition.
In this week’s case (Soczynski v. Cai) the Plaintiff was injured in a 2008 collision.  Both she and the Defendant were insured by ICBC. As is the usual practice in BC, the same ICBC adjuster was handling the Plaintiff’s claim for no-fault benefits and also her tort claim.
The adjuster arranged an independent medical exam with an orthopaedic surgeon.  The Plaintiff attended.  In the course of the lawsuit the Defendant brought a court motion to compel the Plaintiff to be examined by a second surgeon.  The motion was dismissed, however, with the Court finding that the previous ICBC exam created a ‘level playing field’.  Master McDiarmid provided the following useful reasons:
[21] In reviewing the facts in this case, and keeping in mind the main principle to be looked at here, the principle of keeping the parties on an equal footing, I find that in the circumstances of this case, and in particular, the fact that the ICBC adjuster was handling both the Part 7 and tort claims, and did not respond when she knew that the plaintiff’s position was that the examination in front of Dr. Bishop was to deal with both those claims, I find that the examination which took place at the behest of ICBC on January 27, 2009 by Dr. Paul Bishop constituted the first medical examination as contemplated by Rule 7-6(1). The defendants want a further examination by another medical practitioner who practices in the area of orthopaedics. The plaintiff is not relying on any orthopaedic specialists. Keeping in mind the “level playing field” principle, it is not appropriate to order a further examination of the plaintiff by a medical practitioner having expertise in the area of orthopaedics.
For an example of a recent case where an ICBC Part 7 exam which went beyond Part 7 matters did not prohibit a tort Defence Medical exam you can click here to read Master MacNaughton’s recent reasons for judgement in Assalone v. Le.

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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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