BC Court of Appeal Upholds Special Costs Award Against Disability Insurer Despite No Litigation Misconduct
Reasons for judgment were published today by the BC Court of Appeal finding that trial judges do have authority to award special costs against litigants even in circumstances where no litigation misconduct occurred.
In today’s case (Tanious v. The Empire Life Insurance Company) the Plaintiff was insured with the Defendant. She became disabled and sought long term disability benefits but the Defendant ‘rejected her claim’. The Plaintiff successfully sued and was awarded damages along with an order of special costs.
The Defendant appealed arguing the judge was wrong in awarding special costs absent litigation misconduct. The BC Court of Appeal disagreed and found that in “exceptional cases” such awards could be justified. In upholding the award the court provided the following reasons: