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Court finds lawyer personally liable for costs

Topics: - Wrongful Dismissal
Jurisdiction: - British Columbia
Sector: - Education

The BC Supreme Court recently ruled on a complicated cost application in Davies v. Canada Shineray Suppliers Group Inc., 2017 BCSC 1729. At trial the plaintiff was successful in obtaining wrongful dismissal damages and aggravated damages, but did not succeed in voiding a termination clause. 

The court considered six separate cost applications, from both the plaintiff and defendant, all of which stand on their own as discrete but important issues that can arise around the awarding of costs. 

As summary, the court rejected the defendant's argument that the plaintiff had not achieved substantial success. However, it did agree to an application by the defendant that the defendant's original trial lawyer be personally liable for costs awarded against the defendant. While it found the lawyer's conduct did not warrant special costs, not being "reprehensible conduct that requires punishment, but rather neglectful conduct that requires compensation", party and party costs were awarded for three of the nine days of trial. 

Costs were also awarded to the plaintiff at Scale C due to the manner in which the trial was conducted, wherein it was turned from a matter of ordinary difficulty to more than ordinarily difficulty (the conduct included the defendant raising new issues not pleaded and abandoning positions right up through final submissions). However, double costs were not awarded as the offer tendered by the plaintiff was an "all in" offer which did not allow the court to properly evaluate the relationship between the offer and the judgment obtained.