3.65: Permission of Court to amendment before or after close of pleadings
3.66: Costs
SCHEDULE C: Tariff of Recoverable Fees

Case Summary

The Plaintiff, Dr. Sauvageau, applied to amend the Statement of Claim for the fifth time. The Defendant agreed to some amendments, but opposed others. The Action related to the Defendant’s failure or refusal to renew Dr. Sauvageau’s term as Chief Medical Examiner, and claimed for damages totalling approximately $3.1 million. The proposed amendments increased the Claim to over $7.5 million, on the basis of alleged representations by Dr. Sauvageau’s predecessor who was not a party to the Action.

Master Schlosser noted that the law respecting amendments to pleadings is well settled. Referring to prior Alberta authority, Master Schlosser explained that even careless or late amendments should be permitted unless they would cause serious and non-compensable prejudice to opposing parties; the requested amendment is “hopeless”; the amendment is to add a new party or claim after the limitations period has expired; or there was “an element of bad faith” in failing to plead the proposed amendment at the outset. The Defendant argued that Dr. Sauvageau’s amendments would cause prejudice, that there was no reason for the amendments not to have been sought earlier, and that the new claims were hopeless.

Master Schlosser agreed that the disputed amendments were “late and careless”, but that it was not enough to refuse the amendment. With respect to the “hopelessness” of the new claim, Master Schlosser noted that the claims were “optimistic and legally agile but not, at this stage, hopeless”. In addition, Master Schlosser held that, with respect to prejudice, any harm caused by the late amendment was compensable through Costs.

Master Schlosser observed that an Applicant may be required to bear the Cost consequences of amending pleadings, even if the Applicant is entitled to the Costs of the Application pursuant to Rule 3.66. Master Schlosser stated that the Costs of the amendment Application should be in the cause, but Dr. Sauvageau should be required to pay the Cost consequences of the amendments forthwith on a multiple of Schedule C, Column 5.

Finally, Master Schlosser commented that the style of cause should not include honorifics that describe status or qualifications, and ordered that the “Dr.” be removed from the style of cause in the amended Pleading.

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