Pirbhai v. Singh et al., 2011 ONSC 1366 (S.C.J.) (Rule 76 – simplified procedure, Rule 1.04 – proportionality)
Judgment Released: March 2, 2011 Link to Judgment
The Court granted the plaintiff judgment against the defendants in the sum of $33,465.77 as damages for breach of contract, deceit and misrepresentation regarding the purchase of a Lexus (described by the Court as “the most expensive Lexus motor vehicle in the world”) and the further sum of $50,000 for punitive damages. In awarding the plaintiff his costs fixed in the amount sought ($131,211.74, all-inclusive) and a further award of $2,000 for the costs hearing, the Court reasoned that a high costs award is appropriate in some cases to dissuade abuse of the justice system. The Court rejected the submission that the costs awarded should be proportionate to the amount recovered noting “I see nothing wrong with costs being awarded in an amount sufficiently high to discourage liars, fraudsters and cheats from seeking refuge in the legal system. A trial should be an unpleasant experience for such litigants.” Further, the Court rejected the argument that the plaintiff should be penalized for not having brought the claim under Rule 76, reasoning that at the time the claim was brought, in July of 2000, the monetary threshold of Rule 76 was $25,000 and the plaintiff was thus free to bring the claim under the ordinary regime. Further, the Court noted that since the statement of claim was amended mid-trial, once the fraud of the defendants had come to light, such an amendment would have been a difficult issue to try in the simplified procedure regime.