$175,000 in costs against defendants on a judgment under $20,000!

Date: October 2022

Earlier this year I shared a decision in a construction lien matter where a plaintiff secured judgment against the defendants in the amount of $19,113.80. The only problem was that it took 4+ years, 11 trial management conferences, and 7 days of trial.

The bill of costs of the plaintiff and defendants totaled (on a substantial indemnity basis) $216,884.97 and $188,074.67, respectively.

I recently came across the decision from Associate Justice Wiebe with respect to costs and found that he awarded substantial indemnity costs in favour of the plaintiff in the amount of $175,000!

The conduct of the defendants used to determine that substantial costs were warranted include, but were not limited to:

  • the defendants’ failure to accept three different offers to settle INCLUDING an offer where the defendants would be paid $25,000;
  • instances of withheld evidence by the defendants;
  • findings that the defendants gave evidence that was deceitful including trying to paint the plaintiff as dishonest and fraudulent;
  • defendants’ failure to produce documents that were ordered to be produced; and
  • the unreasonable positions taken by the defendants.

Click here for a link to the decision.

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