Plaintiff Ordered To Pay Double Costs After Claim Dismissed At Trial

In Ross v. Andrews, the Plaintiff was injured in a motor vehicle accident, and consequently sued for damages. Prior to trial, ICBC’S lawyer had made two formal offers to settle, both of which were rejected by counsel for the Plaintiff.


The trial lasted for 15 days, and was by judge and jury. At the conclusion of counsel’s submissions, and the court’s instructions, the jury after deliberations determined that the Plaintiff had not been injured in the accident. The Plaintiff’s case was dismissed, with the costs issue being adjourned until a later point in time.


ICBC’S lawyer brought a costs application, seeking double costs from the date of service of either the first or last formal offer of the Defendant, to the date of trial, arguing that given the Plaintiff’s credibility problems prior to trial, that the offers were reasonable, and ought to have been accepted.


Counsel for the Plaintiff submitted that there was sufficient medical evidence upon which the Plaintiff could rely on to advance his case, and further that an award of double costs would be financial hardship to the Plaintiff.


The Court awarded double costs to the Defendant from a period of time of seven days after the delivery of the second formal offer to settle, to the date of trial, ruling that the offer ought reasonably to have been accepted, in light of how the credibility problems may be perceived by the jury.


[21]         Based on a review of the evidence at trial, described in part above, and the cases cited, as well as a review of the submissions of counsel, I find that the offer to settle in the amount of $75,000 ought reasonably to have been accepted by the plaintiff having given consideration to the foreseeable credibility problems and the negative verdict of the jury. The offers to settle both included positive returns whereas at trial the plaintiff’s action was dismissed. The relative financial circumstances of the parties do not preclude an order for double costs in this situation. As a result, applying Rule 9-1 of the Supreme Court Rules, the defendants are entitled to the costs of this action generally and double costs of this action commencing on May 26, 2016. This date is seven days after the second offer to settle was delivered to the plaintiff; a reasonable period of time for the plaintiff to consider the offer. Double costs are awarded from May 26, 2016 until the end of the trial and will include the costs of the application to fix costs. The defendants are also entitled to disbursements but not doubled.


[22]         The evidence aforesaid created significant areas where the credibility of the plaintiff was subject to negative findings by a jury. When those areas are added together the plaintiff ought to have actively considered any offer which offered a positive return without the risks of a trial.


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