Legal Blog

Back
01 May 2018

Court Orders Insurer to Pay Huge Costs Award for Mounting an Unreasonable Defence

by Andrew Moss
  • SHARE

Persampieri v. Hobbs, 2018 ONSC 368

In 2009, the Plaintiff, 84-year-old Maria Persampieri, was a passenger in a motor vehicle that was rear-ended. The Plaintiff brought an action against the Defendants for damages. Defendants’ counsel gave the Plaintiff two options: withdraw the action on a without costs basis or proceed to trial.

At the mandatory pre-trial mediation, the Defendants admitted liability in exchange for the Plaintiff limiting her claim to the remaining policy limits. A couple months before trial, the Plaintiff offered to settle her action for $20,000 plus partial indemnity fees and disbursements. Two weeks before trial, the Plaintiff offered to settle her action for $10,000 plus partial indemnity fees and disbursements. The Defendants rejected the offer and the parties proceeded to trial.

The Plaintiff succeeded in defeating two motions by the Defendants and at trial the jury awarded the Plaintiff $40,000 for general damages, $25,000 for housekeeping and home maintenance, $2,000 for attendant care and $500 for medical and rehabilitation expenses. However, after deductions for accident benefits the net jury award was only $20,414.

Concerning costs, the Defendants argued they should be proportional to the award. Justice Sanderson disagreed and instead ordered the Defendants to pay the Plaintiff $237,017 in costs. She criticized the Defendants’ conduct as uncompromising and unreasonable.  Justice Sanderson said the Defendants should not be rewarded for refusing to engage in good-faith negotiations.

You can read Persampieri v. Hobbs, 2018 ONSC 368, in its entirety here.