An Exciting Day at the Ontario Superior Court

By the judge’s own admission, February 24, 2011 was an exciting day at the Superior Court of Justice in St. Catherine’s, Ontario. J.W. Quinn J. stated in the costs decision released March 2, 2011 in Pirbhai v. Singh,

[1] This is an exciting day (and excitement does not often make it to my end of the courtroom). It marks the final chapter (at least at the trial stage) of the now-tiresome 12-year tale of what will be, by paragraph [134] of these Reasons, the most expensive Lexus motor vehicle in the world.

The costs decision deals with legal issues such as the “rare and exceptional instances” when full-indemnity costs may be provided. But the decision also spends considerable time deliberating the impact of witness credibility on these cost consequences. To illustrate,

[16] The plaintiff and his witnesses were highly credible and gave their evidence in a straightforward manner.

[17] Singh, on the other hand, I found to be a devious man and an unbelievable witness who would do or say anything to advance his position. He was maddeningly unwilling to respond to the simplest of questions and often had to be asked the same question over and over (no doubt using the time gained to visit his pantry of untruthful answers). He was evasive, non-responsive and verbose in his testimony. Throughout the trial, I patiently waited for a Phoenix-like moment that might serve to rehabilitate his credibility: it never came. All in all, he was an exasperating witness who told untruths too numerous to catalogue and insulting in their breadth.

Justice Quinn had already fixed punitive damages at trial for $50,000. But in his opinion the conduct of the Defendant in this case also warranted full-indemnity costs as well because,

[120] Equity requires that the plaintiff not be put to one penny of expense in his pursuit of justice.

An exciting day indeed.

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