Ms. Norris, a long-haul truck driver, claimed at her trial that she was permanently disabled due to her accident & was unable to ever work again.
ICBC disregarded a court order that its lawyer provide a list about three weeks before Ms. N’s trial of the dates & length of each surveillance video its investigators had taken. ICBC did not disclose the hours of surveillance footage its investigators took in 2015 until near the end of the civil jury trial. Some of the clips pictured Ms. N in a clearly weakened state and one critical video clip pictured Ms. N as she entered a Starbucks, sat down, collapsed and was then taken away by an ambulance. They would have assisted Ms. N in her case.
On August 8th 2016, Justice Gordon Funt condemned and punished ICBC for its actions.
He stated that: “not only was the efficient administration of justice affected by [ICBC’s] conduct … but also the reputation of the court”.
Because of ICBC’s “casual disregard” of a court ordering disclosure the judge stated that it must pay $155,000 to Ms. N in special costs.
This award for ICBC’s misconduct marks the first time in BC’s history that an award for costs has been made for a claimant’s full 30% contingency fee of their lawyer. This means that Ms. N will not have to pay any of her lawyer’s fees if this decision is upheld on appeal.
Justice Funt’s condemnation of ICBC’s actions is important because it shows that no one is above the law and that everyone, including ICBC, must follow the rules of disclosure in order for justice to be achieved.
It is likely that the BC Court of Appeal will make the final decision on whether ICBC will have to reimburse Ms. N all of her legal fees.
See Norris v Burgess, 2016 BCSC 1451
The Vancouver Sun article: http://vancouversun.com/storyline/ian-mulgrew-icbc-slammed-for-withholding-key-evidence-in-civil-trial