The recent decision of Mills v Minto Developments Inc., 2015 ONSC 5753 (CanLII) is an excellent example of how expensive our civil litigation system is in Ontario. And keep in mind that the hourly rates used are much lower than are actually billed to the clients in major cities.
This is a decision where the plaintiff was wholly unsuccessful. The case says that sophisticated parties who get into litigation know the costs consequences. The case involved a flood in a building and who was responsible for it. The damages for the flood were agreed between the parties to be approximately $65,000.00. It was a simplified procedure case and no discovery. Trial was scheduled for 5 days (actually took 4). Defendants made offers to settle to dismiss without costs and then a 2nd offer to dismiss but would pay $5,000 to plaintiff for costs. Both rejected by the Plaintiff.
The Plaintiff lost the case.
The court ordered costs of $50,850 plus $16,571 for disbursements. In other words, a relatively simple and short dispute over $65,000 cost the losing party another $67,000.00!
To put it another way, the Plaintiff suffered damages of $65,000, costs of the defendant of $67,000 plus their own legal fees, of approximately $60,000.00. In an attempt to recover 65,000.00 the Plaintiff is required to risk another $125,000.00 with the risk of getting $0.
That is one expensive way for an argument to be decided by an impartial third party.
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