A Nova Scotia Supreme Court Decision released recently on April 18th granted summary judgment to the plaintiff in a car accident case where liability was seemingly straightforward but the defendant would not admit liability. Ms. Drysdale was approximately three-quarters of the way through the crosswalk back on November 30th, 2011, when she was hit by the defendant driver Mr. Swinemar driving his 72 foot truck.
This motion was before the Honourable Justice James L. Chipman and it is cited as Drysdale v. Bev & Lynn Trucking Ltd., 2016 NSSC 109 for those of you who would like to read the full fifteen page decision. At paragraph thirty-four Justice Chipman concluded:
Returning to the direction of the Supreme Court of Canada in Hryniak, this case is well suited to summary judgment because it presents as one which allows me to decide the facts with confidence and chose a fair and proportionate way to resolve the dispute. In particular, the liability dispute deserves to be dealt with today. A trial would not be proportionate, timely or cost-effective on the liability issue. I am satisfied as well there is no genuine issue of material fact on its own or mixed with a question of law for trial. The matter does not require determination of a question of law. Accordingly, I grant summary judgment as requested by the Plaintiff.
This decision caught my eye for a few different reasons:
- Plaintiff car accident-pedestrian litigation is a part of my larger exclusive injury litigation practice.
- I was a litigator in the Coady v. Burton Canada Co.,2013 NSCA 95 case that is referred to at paragraph nine of the Drysdale decision. The Coady decision gave our Court of Appeal a chance to consider the new Summary Judgment Rule that was contained in our Civil Procedure Rules which were overhauled in 2009. The Court of Appeal consisted of a panel of five Justices instead of the usual three which speaks to the importance of the issue.
- I was a litigator in the Courtney v. Neville, 1995 CanL11 4486 ( NS SC) decision referred to at paragraph twenty of the Drysdale decision, which dealt with the S. 248 reverse onus provision of our Motor Vehicle Act, which applies to motor vehicle-pedestrian collisions.
The Drysdale decision was well thought out by Justice Chipman after effective advocacy by both sides.
Sean F. Layden, Q.C. is a Partner who practices in the area of Personal Injury Law. If you have any questions or comments about the Drysdale decision, the Coady decision, the Courtney decision or this blog connect with Sean by phone (902) 460-3405, on LinkedIn www.linkedin.com/in/seanlayden or email [email protected].