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Damages - Assessment of damages - Measure of damages - Deductions

Thursday, December 08, 2016 @ 7:00 PM  

Application by the plaintiff, Henry, for an order awarding pre-judgment interest. Application by the Province for an order for deduction of settlement amounts from the damages or costs payable by the Province. The plaintiff served 27 years’ imprisonment as a dangerous offender prior to the convictions being quashed by the Court of Appeal in 2010 based on exculpatory evidence. In 2011, the plaintiff sued the federal and provincial Crowns, the City of Vancouver, and two police detectives. The claims were settled with the City, the detectives and the federal Crown for undisclosed amounts. The plaintiff was awarded damages payable by the Province comprised of $530,000 for compensatory damages, $56,692 for special damages, and $7.5 million pursuant to s. 24(1) of the Charter. The plaintiff was awarded costs at Scale C of Appendix B with each unit calculated at 1.5 times the otherwise applicable value. The plaintiff sought pre-judgment interest. The Province took the position that the Charter award for vindication and deterrence was a non-pecuniary award exempt from court-ordered interest.

HELD: Applications allowed. The damages awarded to the plaintiff for vindication and deterrence award had a monetary foundation that fit with the definition of a pecuniary judgment, but the award as a head of damage remained non-pecuniary in nature. The award did not arise from either personal injury or death, and therefore did not fit within the exemption from the application of pre-judgment interest under s. 2(e) of the Court Order Interest Act. The plaintiff was entitled to pre-judgment interest running from the date of the quashing of his convictions in October 2010. To find otherwise would overcompensate the plaintiff for time preceding completion of his cause of action. With respect to deductibility, the plaintiff’s claims against the settling and non-settling defendants were indivisible, as they sought essentially the same relief, namely compensation for a wrongful conviction and incarceration arising from different allegations of fault. Therefore some of the settlement funds paid to the plaintiff were deductible from the damages award. The matter was remitted to the parties to determine whether the settlement funds included a non-deductible amount on account of costs, with the balance of the settlement funds to be deducted from the award against the Province.