Big Time Bucks in Recent City Legal Decision

legal costsIt’s a  case of compensation and sanction amidst some pretty direct legal language and a big financial Ouch!

A short while ago, I referenced the BC Supreme Court decision where  a judgement was rendered in the case between Clare’s Cove Marina Ltd., Willy’s Wharf Inc., Jiro Adventures Ltd. and William MacIsaac vs. the City of Salmon Arm.  See here.

The city won and was “entitled to judgment against Clare’s Cove Marina Ltd. in the sum of $35,098.86″. Costs were to be addressed at a future date – and this latest decision  about those costs is where the sanction and big bucks really came into play.

The city, in 2013 BCSC 912 , went after special costs from MacIsaac – to be mandated by the trial judge – due to:

First, I concluded that Mr. MacIsaac fabricated evidence on an important issue at the trial. The City was put to considerable expense in an effort to meet that evidence. Had they not been successful in doing so, the result of the proceedings might have been different. Second, Mr. MacIsaac claimed during and after the trial that one or another of two City employees, xxx and xxx , attempted to extort a benefit from him. The City argues there was no evidence to support this claim. Third, Mr. MacIsaac has published and widely circulated what the City describes as scandalous allegations about it and its employees in connection with this dispute. Finally, Mr. MacIsaac has breached the implied undertaking that governs the use that can be made of examination for discovery evidence.

The city’s actual legal costs being sought were “$351,636.18 in fees plus disbursements and taxes of $90,462.35 for a total of $442,098.53“.

The judge’s decision supported two key parts of the city’s legal rationale.

I am satisfied that special costs are appropriate in this case. I may have reached that conclusion based solely on the attempt to mislead the court in the manner I have described. I may have reached it based solely on the deliberate misuse of the discovery evidence. Taken in combination, however, the conduct rises to the level that requires the court to rebuke it and to sanction Mr. MacIsaac.

MacIsaac was ordered to pay the city $168,000 in fees and almost all of the disbursements. According to my sense of the math, this litigation has cost the city $183,000 and MacIsaac quite a  bit more … so far … with MacIsaac apparently threatening an appeal.

The oral reasons for the ‘costs’ judgement are a fascinating read for the details, the rationale and even the court wrap-up.

The judgement  for the original trial – Clare’s Cove Marina Ltd. v. Salmon Arm (City ) 2013 BCSC 553 – is here.

The Observer’s article City recoups some legal costs (Wickett: May 28 2013) has more background.

Author: Tim Lavery

Aim High Salmon Arm It matters

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