On Friday, November 2, 2012, British Columbia courts posted two interesting decisions.  In Carter et al. v. Attorney General of Canada et al., the judge awarded special costs to the legal team that successfully challenged the constitutionality of the prohibition against physician-assisted death.  If the lower court’s decision is upheld on appeal, federal and provincial taxpayers will pick up a legal tab estimated to exceed one million dollars (so far).

The same day, the Court of Appeal released the latest decision in a legal saga that began when a male lawyer collided with a female articling student at a firm gathering at a nightclub in 2001.  Poole v. Lombard General Insurance Company of Canada may be the last word in the litigation arising from the pratfall, which resulted in a judgment of just short of $6 million in favour of the student.  The various court decisions in this long running battle of insurance companies may not be legally significant, but they make very interesting reading.  Here’s the first paragraph of the latest:

“On the evening of April 5, 2001, the Vancouver law firm of Alexander Holburn Beaudin & Lang (“AHBL”) treated its associates and students to a dinner at a Vancouver restaurant, Rodney’s Oyster House. After the dinner, some of those attending decided to go to a nearby nightclub known as “Bar None”. There, events took a very unfortunate turn. The appellant Mr. Poole, a senior associate, became intoxicated and while dancing with an articling student, Ms. Danicek, fell backwards onto her. She fell to the floor and suffered a “mild traumatic brain injury” which has had a profound effect on her life. Her damages from this accident were assessed by the trial judge, Mr. Justice Kelleher, at $5,913,783. 54 and were found to be the result solely of Mr. Poole’s negligence. (See Supreme Court Docket S042714; reasons indexed as 2010 BCSC 1111.) No appeal has been taken from these findings.”