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Lawsuit Against ICBC Lawyer Dismissed as Wild Speculation

This Lawyer  was hired by ICBC to defend against several car accident personal injury claims in 2002. The first three car accidents went to trial with claimant having no lawyer to advocate his case.

In his submission to the court, lawyer Mr. Paul Warnett, hired by ICBC, questioned the extent to which the claimant was injured in any of the three accidents, if at all, and suggested that the ICBC claim was worth very little or nothing at all.  Mr. Warnett, the ICBC lawyer at the time, also suggested that the claimant had not demonstrated any past income loss or future incapacity to work. (Owimar v. Warnett, 2018 BCSC 2310).

The claimant on the other hand did not have a lawyer and was unrepresented at trial. After just one hour of deliberating the jury dismissed the injury claims.

The Court of Appeal disagreed with the jury decision to dismiss the claims. The introduction of the psychiatric records by Mr. Warnett to the jury rendered the trial unfair. In December, 2007 a new trial was ordered, with costs to the claimant (Owimar v. Greater Vancouver Transportation Authority,2007 BCCA 630). The remaining car accident claims were eventually settled out of court in 2013.

A  lawsuit against lawyer Paul Warnett and Dr. McGraw was then filed 5 years later, in 2018, alleging various kinds of fraud and negligence in their respective capacities as defence counsel and expert witness.

Mr. Warnett and Dr. McGraw were successful in having the claim’s dismissed pursuant to Rule 9-5(1) and under Rule 9-6 as it was limitation barred. In part, the judge had this to say,

[30] Under Rule 9-5(1)(a), the allegations advanced by the plaintiff are nothing more than wild speculation. Even if all of the facts advanced by the plaintiff are taken to be true, there are no material facts that make out a cause of action against either defendant. As such, I am satisfied that the plaintiff has no reasonable prospect of success.

[31] I am further satisfied that the pleadings are so fundamentally flawed that they can not be saved by amendment.

[32] Having made that finding it is not necessary to consider the other grounds for dismissal in Rule 9-5. I will state however that with regard to claims made against Mr. Warnett that in my view the claim violates all of the subsections in Rule 9-5(1).

[33] In addition I find that the action against Mr. Warnett is statute barred by operation of either the Limitation Act, S.B.C. 2012, c. 13 and/or the Limitation Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 266 repealed. Limitation periods under both of those acts have long expired. As stated above, where an action is statute barred, there is no triable issue and the claim should be dismissed summarily under Rule 9-6(5)(a) (Owimar v. Warnett, 2018 BCSC 2310).

Tags: ICBC Lawyers

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