For the first time, a court in Canada has awarded separate damages for surrogacy fees for future potential pregnancies.
Mikaela Wilhelmson was involved in a head-on collision that killed three other people and left her with significant permanent disabilities, including never being able to carry a child. Rather than lump this in with the other usual non-pecuniary categories of pain, suffering and loss of amenities, the court awarded an additional amount, for the costs associated with retaining a surrogate in the future. The court accepted cost estimates of retaining a surrogate in the United States of between $50,000 and $100,000. The court took the low end of the range, $50,000, but awarded $100,000 for surrogacy fees for two future pregnancies. See Wilhelmson v. Dumma 2017 BCSC 616.
Litigants are not rewarded for bad behaviour. In a recent decision out of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, a father was ordered to pay $420,000 in costs to his former spouse, after losing the case for custody of their young daughter.
The Trademarks Act (the “Act”) contains a unique provision that allows “public authorities” to by-pass the normal trademark registration application process and to protect their “official marks” indefinitely. There is no similar provision in any other country’s trademark protection regime.
Although now 10 years old, Tug of War: A Judge’s Verdict on Separation, Custody Battles, and the Bitter Realities of Family Court, by Justice Harvey Brownstone of the Ontario Court of Justice, remains an insightful and powerful read on the uses and misuses of family court.