10.33: Court considerations in making costs award

Case Summary

The Plaintiff was successful in a wrongful termination Action in which he obtained Judgment for $1,873,900.00. The employer, Alliance Pipeline Ltd. (“Alliance”), had conceded some liability a year and a half after the Statement of Claim was filed, and 11 years before Trial. Alliance paid $998,578.00 to the Plaintiff as an early concession of liability.

The parties disputed whether or not this amount should be included in the Plaintiff’s overall entitlement when determining which Costs column should be applied. Justice Verville held that the column should be assigned according to the amount that is really at issue, rather than a nominal amount claimed on the face of the pleadings. Because the only amount at issue at Trial was that which exceeded the early payment, the early payment was not considered a part of the Plaintiff’s overall entitlement for the purposes of determining Costs.

Alliance submitted that Cornelson’s second counsel Costs should be limited to 25% of the Trial days, predominantly because second counsel’s only address to the Court consisted of one half day of read-ins. Justice Verville determined that the factors relevant to considering the appropriateness of second counsel Costs were the complexity and general importance of the legal issues, the monetary value of the case, as well as the respective roles each counsel took. With regard to the roles of counsel, Justice Verville held that while active roles by both counsel may support Costs for second counsel, the converse is not necessarily true. The amount at issue and the complexity and importance of the issues supported granting full Costs for second counsel.

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