Category: Interrogatories

Court Orders Plaintiff To Answer Interrogatories That Relate To The Issue Of Mitigation

In Jack v. Kendrick, the Plaintiff was injured in three motor vehicle accidents, and subsequently advanced ICBC claims for all three. After the formal commencement of legal proceedings, all three matters were consolidated into one action for trial.


Prior to trial, counsel for the Defendant from the first action brought an application to compel the Plaintiff to answer the Defendant’s interrogatories. Written interrogatories, otherwise known as requests for further information, are questions propounded by a party to litigation that are required to be answered by the other party. The purpose of interrogatories is to clarify matters of fact in advance of trial.


In the case at bar, the interrogatories were directed at determining if and when the Plaintiff and other doctors received the medical reports of other doctors. The primary objective of the interrogatories in question was to delve into the issue of the Plaintiff’s mitigation by seeing what steps were taken with respect to treatment.


The Court considered factors relevant to whether or not interrogatories need to be answered, such as whether or not the questions are relevant, whether or not there is a duplication of particulars, and the fact that interrogatories by their nature are narrower in scope than an Examination for Discovery.


The Court ruled that the Plaintiff was required to answer certain questions that related to his personal knowledge of treatment recommendations, as this went to the issue of mitigation, which was pled by ICBC’S lawyer.


The Court ruled that the Plaintiff was not required to answer questions in regards to when and if certain reports were given to various doctors.


[29] In this case, to the extent that the interrogatories go to the plaintiff’s knowledge of treatment recommendations, they are relevant to the issue of mitigation as a failure to mitigate has been pled. In particular, it is relevant to that defence of when the plaintiff came into possession of various of the medical reports, if at all. Again, that goes to the question of whether he properly mitigated his damages by following or not following recommendations made in those reports.


[30] Thus, I am satisfied that the interrogatories directed to the plaintiff’s personal knowledge, being those interrogatories that ask when he personally received the reports, are proper and should be answered. I would add that contrary to the submission of the plaintiff, I do not view those communications as privileged.


[31] The other interrogatories, however, are of a different character. They ask when and if certain reports were given to various physicians. It is not clear to me that that information is within the personal knowledge of the plaintiff. Further, those are questions that go to counsel’s conduct of the plaintiff’s case in that it is typically counsel who retains and instructs expert witnesses. Lastly, the question of what information a doctor had when preparing his or her report is properly an issue to be canvassed with that doctor in cross-examination, but I fail to see how that information is relevant to the argument that the plaintiff failed to mitigate.