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$25,000 Penalty against Claimant in Personal Injury Case Overturned

Document Disclosure in Civil Claim

The claimant suffered injuries in a car accident, alleged loss of earnings but failed to disclose court ordered work calendars, personal loan documents, and income tax returns. The Master ordered a harsh sanction of $25,000 against the claimant for failure to disclose the documents. The Supreme Court ,on Appeal, however disagreed with this harsh and punitive sanction (Badreldin v. Swatridge,2015 BCSC 1161 Appeal from Master).

The Supreme Court of British Columbia confirmed that Masters of the Supreme Court cannot impose sanctions against a party based on the merits of the case. As Judge T.M. McEwan succinctly stated,

[23]  The Master had no jurisdiction to make the order she did, because Rule 22-7(2) (e) is limited in its terms to facilitating determinations on the merits, and sanctions encroaching on the merits undermine that objective. There is no other rule authorizing sanctions beyond costs. It is trite to say that the Master’s jurisdiction must find its source in a statute or a rule or in a direction from the Chief Justice.

This appeal was promptly allowed and the $25,000 sanction vacated. There was however no order for costs for the appearance before the Master and no order for costs on the appeal.
Posted by Vancouver Personal Injury Lawyer Mr. Renn A. Holness,B.A. LL.B.

Tags: Document Discovery, Jurisdiction, Jurisdiction of a Master, loss of earning capacity, New Civil Court Rules, Rule 22-7(2) (e), Rule 22‑7(6)

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