This married couple went to court with no lawyer for personal injuries arising from three car accidents. Liability for the car accidents were admitted and both claimants contended they were incapacitated and permanently affected by their injuries. Following a 13 day trial the claimants were awarded very little, under $30,000 each after deductions ( Ma. v. Haniak, 2017 BCSC 549 ).
ICBC had made several settlement offers during the litigation. The wife was offered a settlement of $125,000 reduced to $75,000 and the husband was offered $60,000. The judgment was much lower and the judge concluded the wife endeavoured to manipulate professional witnesses, was untruthful, and cunning in her effort to deceive the court. Her behaviour fell into the category, described by Brenner J. as “the most extreme of cases where the court is satisfied that a plaintiff has attempted to perpetrate a fraud on the court…”The husband did not fair much better.
Not only did the judge deny most costs to the claimants, he awarded costs to ICBC and special costs against the claimants for the following bogus allegations which were not proven:
a. Implicated them in a conspiracy to obstruct justice and deceive the court;
b. Interfered in the preparation of appeal transcripts;
c. Scheduled events in the litigation to cause significant emotional distress to them;
d. Blocked their attempts at retaining counsel through covert agents of ICBC;
e. Misled them with regard to the possible sequences of settlement of their claims against the court unjustly; and
f. The court unfairly favoured statements of the defence counsel causing a miscarriage of justice. (Ma v. Haniak,2018 BCSC 1000)
The judge opined that the allegation against ICBC, a Crown corporation and agent of the Crown, without any reliable evidence was reprehensible. Since judgment was given, the claimants had acted reprehensibly in making claims and insinuations against ICBC lawyers, ICBC, and the court that warranted rebuke. ICBC was awarded special costs limited to the costs of this application for special costs.
Posted by Personal Injury Lawyer Mr. Renn A. Holness, B.A. LL.B.