Withdrawn Formal Offer Still Effective In Triggering Double Costs
In my continued efforts to track the judicial shaping of Rule 9-1, reasons for judgement were released recently by the BC Supreme Court, New Westminster Registry, ordering double costs following trial where a Plaintiff bested a withdrawn formal settlement offer.
In the recent case (Bartel v. Milliken) the Plaintiff was injured in a 2008 collision. Prior to trial the Plaintiff delivered a formal settlement offer of $29,800. This offer was withdrawn after trial but before judgement. The trial ended in March of 2012 and judgement was delivered in April. The judgement exceeded the Plaintiff’s formal offer by abot $9,000. The Plaintiff applied for post offer double costs. The Defendant argued these should not be awarded since the offer was withdrawn. Madam Justice Gerow rejected this argument and awarded post-offer double costs. In doing so the Court provided the following reasons:
 As stated earlier, the defendants submit the fact that Ms. Bartel withdrew her offer after trial is a factor which weighs against the awarding of double costs because it deprived the defendants of the ability to accept the offer at a later date as contemplated by the rule.
 However, at the same time the defendants concede that the intention and spirit of the rule governing formal offers to settle is to avoid the cost of a trial. In my view, the fact that Ms. Bartel withdrew her offer to settle between the time the trial ended and judgment was rendered is not a factor that weighs against an award of double costs.