4.24: Formal offers to settle
SCHEDULE C: Tariff of Recoverable Fees

Case Summary

The Plaintiff sued Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Alberta (the “Alberta Government”), the Edmonton Police Service and various individuals for damages resulting from alleged false arrest and false imprisonment. One of the successful Defendants, the Alberta Government, sought $67,000 in costs for a Trial which was approximately two weeks long. The Plaintiff contested a number of items in the Bill of Costs.

The Alberta Government had made Formal Offers to the Plaintiff to waive Costs and to pay the Plaintiff either $1 or $1,000. The Court held these were genuine offers of settlement which would normally entitle the Defendant to double Costs because the Court’s Decision was more favourable to the Defendant. However, the Formal Offers were uncertain because they incorporated a requirement to reach a separate agreement concerning settlement. Therefore, the Formal Offers were invalid pursuant to Rule 4.24(2).

There was a dispute as to which column of Schedule C the Costs should be based on. Justice Veit stated that s. 1(3)(b) of Schedule C determined the appropriate column of Schedule C depending on the amount pleaded as against that Defendant. The Plaintiff claimed $125,000 as against two Defendants, but failed to particularize how much she was claiming against the Alberta Government. Therefore, the Defendant argued that Costs should be awarded pursuant to Column 2. The Plaintiff argued that the Alberta Government should have assumed that she was claiming a maximum of $50,000 against it, and thus Column 1 applied. The Court agreed with the Alberta Government as there was no basis on which it could have inferred a maximum claim of $50,000 against it. The Defendant argued further that it was entitled to a second counsel fee, but the Court denied the request on the basis that this was not an important case for the Alberta Government and not complex. Ultimately, the Costs sought by the Alberta Government were reduced by at least $45,200 to account for the deduction of double Costs and second counsel fee.

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