ICBC Hit With Special Costs Award For “Reprehensible” Lawsuit Tactics
Reasons for judgement were published this week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, finding ICBC is liable to pay special costs for ‘reprehensible’ conduct in litigation.
In the recent case (Zhang v. 328633 BC Ltd) the Plaintiff was injured while riding as a passenger in a bus. A truck driver made an unsafe lane change in front of the bus. This caused the bus driver to brake forcefully throwing the plaintiff from her seat leading to multiple injuries. The truck driver did not remain at the scene of the incident and was unknown. The Plaintiff sued both the bus driver and ICBC as a statutory defendant in place of the unidentified truck driver, a legal remedy available under s. 24 of the Insurance (Vehicle) Act. ICBC had video evidence from the bus as to what actually occurred but failed to produce this for years. They also denied that a s. 24 claim existed until deep into the trial.
The bus driver was not paying adequate attention at the time and the court found both the bus driver and truck driver shared liability.
As a result of ICBC’s late production of crucial evidence and unreasonable denial as to the merits of the s. 24 claim the presiding judge found ICBC should pay special costs. In reaching this conclusion Mr. Justice Branch provided the following reasons: