Tag: Rule 12-5(46)(a)

More On Discovery Evidence at Trial and The Adverse Party Limitation

As previously discussed, one limitation when using examination for discovery evidence at trial is that the evidence is only admissible against the party that was examined.  Reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, addressing this limitation finding it is equally applicable during a summary trial.
In this week’s case (Liversidge v. Wang) the Plaintiff sued the Defendant’s for damages.  The Defendants brought Third Party proceedings but the Plaintiff never extended the claim against the Third Party.  In the course of the lawsuit the Plaintiff examined the Third Party for discovery and then set down a summary trial intending to rely on portions of the examination transcripts as against the Defendant.  In disallowing this Mr. Justice Burnyeat provided the following reasons:
12] Rule 12-5(46) (formerly Rule 40(27) states that evidence given at the examination for discovery by a party or a person under Rule 7-2(5) to (10) may be tendered as evidence by a party adverse in interest, but is only admissible against the party examined. This concept was explained by Arnold-Bailey J. in Biehl v. Strang, (2011) 21 B.L.R. (4th) 1 (B.C.S.C). as follows:
I note in Bower v. Cominco Ltd. (1998), 53 B.C.L.R. (3d) 322, 19 C.P.C. (4th) 22 (B.C. S.C.), it was held that the predecessor rule, R. 40(27) of the Rules of Court, B.C. Reg. 221/90 [Predecessor Rules], was enacted in response to Robinson v. Dick (1986), 6 B.C.L.R. (2d) 330 (B.C. S.C.), which permitted the admission of discovery evidence against co-defendants. In Beazley v. Suzuki Motor Corp., 2009 BCSC 1575 (B.C. S.C.) [Beazley] at para. 26, it was held that R. 40(27) only permitted discovery evidence to be admitted against the adverse party examined. (at para. 77)
[13] The decisions outlined in Biehl, supra, and Rule 12-5(46) are clear. The evidence given on an examination for discovery is admissible, but it is only admissible against the adverse party who was examined. Rule 12-5(46) applies equally to a Trial and a Summary Trial.
[14] Under Rule 7-2(1), “a party to an action must make himself or herself available for examination for discovery by parties of record to the action… who are adverse in interest to the parties subject to the examination”. The Plaintiffs did not commence an action against the Third Party so as to make the interest the Third Party adverse to the interest of the Plaintiffs. Here, the Plaintiffs did not have the right to examine the Third Party for discovery. Despite the fact the Third Party consented to being discovered by the Plaintiffs, that consent does not then make the evidence that arises from that discovery available for use by the Plaintiffs against the Defendants.
[15] The evidence provided at the Examination for Discovery of a representative of the Third Party cannot be used on this Summary Trial Application to assist the Plaintiffs in advancing the claim that they make against the Defendants. 

Examination For Discovery Transcripts and the Adverse Party Limitation

Although examination for discovery transcripts can be read into evidence at trial, the Rules of Court limit the evidence to being used against “the adverse party who was examined“.  In other words, a litigant can’t use their own transcript to bolster their own case.  Reasons for judgement were released last week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, demonstrating this limitation.
In last week’s case (Haughian v. Jiwa) the Plaintiff was involved in a motor vehicle collision.  The Defendant brought a summary trial application seeking to dismiss the claim.  The Plaintiff produced an affidavit which stated that “in my examination for discovery I described precisely how the accident occurred”  and went on to attach “as an exhibit 29 pages for her examination for discovery conducted by counsel for the defendants“.
The Defendant objected to this evidence arguing it was inadmissible.  Mr. Justice Punnett agreed and provided the following reasons explaining the limitation of discovery evidence at trial:

[8] The plaintiff’s affidavit appends portions of her examination for discovery by counsel for the defendants.  The defendants object to the tendering of discovery evidence in this way.

[9] Summary applications are based on affidavit evidence.  However, they are still trials and as such are governed by the rules and evidentiary requirements of a regular trial.  The followingSupreme Court Civil Rules (the “Rules”) are relevant:

9-7(5)  Unless the court otherwise orders, on a summary trial application, the applicant and each other party of record may tender evidence by any or all of the following:

(a)        an affidavit;

(c)        any part of the evidence taken on an examination for discovery;

[10] However, the breadth of the statement in part (c) above is restricted by Rule 12-5(46) which provides:

(46)      If otherwise admissible, the evidence given on an examination for discovery by a party … may be tendered in evidence at trial by any party adverse in interest, unless the court otherwise orders, but the evidence is admissible against the following persons only:

(a)        the adverse party who was examined;

[12] The defendants’ objection is that only the defendants can tender the plaintiff’s examination for discovery evidence.  They rely on the rules cited above as well as Tesscourt Capital Ltd. v. FG Nutraceutical Inc., 2011 BCSC 814; Mikhail v. Northern Health Authority (Prince George Regional Hospital), 2010 BCSC 1817; Schwartz v. Selkirk Financial, 2004 BCSC 313; Pete v. Terrace Regional Health Care Society, 2003 BCCA 226; Great Canadian Oil Change v. Dynamic Ventures et al, 2002 BCSC 1295, and Shiels v. Shiels (1997), 29 B.C.L.R. (3d) 193 (S.C.).

[13] I am satisfied that the discovery evidence sought to be introduced by the plaintiff cannot be relied upon by the plaintiff for the truth of its contents.

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