Costs Issues in Litigation

Written on behalf of Peter McSherry
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The Basics

Legal costs in civil litigation is an important issue. Generally speaking a successful employee will be allowed “partial” costs against the employer. Similarly an unsuccessful employee will be required to pay the company’s costs. This issue has been reviewed in a prior post.

Recent Scary Cases

One Court of Appeal case[1] recently declined to award costs in favour of a successful plaintiff employee based on the sums originally claimed against the company. She recovered $114,000 but sued for $3.3 million. She was ordered to pay the company’s legal costs of $200,000.

A second Court of Appeal[2] case reversed the trial award of damages of $141,000 based on abusive conduct of the employer. More importantly the trial judge awarded legal costs of $825,000 for a 40 day trial. This costs award was reversed on appeal in favour of the employer.

These are chilling decisions.

Employees’ Take Away

The commencement of legal proceedings requires extreme care and consideration. As noted in the prior post, there are other ways of “suing” which may diminish or completely eliminate any question of liability for legal costs.

Get Advice and Know Your Rights

Get advice. Know your rights. Contact the offices of Guelph employment lawyer Peter McSherry. We can guide you through the issues, help you understand your rights, and defend your position. Contact us online or by phone at 519-821-5465 to schedule a consultation

[1] Colistro v Thunder Bay

[2] Merrifield v RCMP