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A Robust Client Defence Leads to Procedures for Evidence

When a married couple needed to mount a strong defence against an aggressive plaintiff in a motor vehicle accident, Stevens Virgin was on hand to provide uncompromising dedication and effective counsel.

The plaintiff sought in excess of $1.3 million as compensation, yet, as The Court of Appeal noted to be relevant, “the collision was a minor ‘rear-ender’. It caused minimal damage to the vehicles involved” (Cahoon v. Brideaux, 2010 BCCA 228 (CanLII)). The plaintiff’s counsel was relentless in their pursuit of a large claim. Mark Virgin and Joan Young fought relentlessly through a 5-week trial on the Brideaux’s behalf, safeguarding the couple against an aggressive opponent.

Mark Virgin recalls the defence as “exceedingly hard fought, a real battle royale”. Every aspect of evidence was contested, and each side’s experts squared off to recount their conflicting accounts of the accident’s impact and the plaintiff’s alleged injuries. Mark Virgin and his co-counsel Joan Young were unflagging in their defence of the opposition. They presented the jury with a robust case. They argued that the plaintiff’s claims were unsubstantiated and that their attempt to receive compensation for everything from supposed lost wages to house renovations amounted to an attempt to get everything paid for, including “the kitchen sink”. Mark and Joan’s arguments were well received by the jury. Through Mark and Joan’s advocacy, the jury elected to reject the vast majority of the plaintiff’s claims. The compensation of $34,600 that the jury awarded (an amount well below what had been previously offered to the plaintiff) clearly demonstrated that they preferred the defence’s characterization of the case.

But a jury verdict wasn’t the end of the matter. The plaintiff pushed to have the jury’s decision overturned in BC’s Court of Appeal. Mark and Steven Hoyer moved quickly to protect the Brideaux’s against yet another challenge. The two lawyers honed their arguments and worked tirelessly to put all the supporting evidence before the court. What came out of their uncompromising efforts was a total shutout of the appeal. Basically, the court found that Mark and Joan properly applied the correct procedures in their introduction of evidence at trial. Their example set a valuable precedent for how evidence should be introduced in future matters.

Through his unwavering support and deft strategy, Mark and his skilled co-counsel (Joan Young at trial and Steven Hoyer on appeal) were able to safeguard their clients’ interests through a difficult trial and an appeal. The defence team’s hard work yielded not only a favourable trial outcome, but also a number of important rulings, contained within an oft-cited decision from the province’s highest court.

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