On March 30, 2023, the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) dismissed with costs, the application for leave to appeal from the decision of the B.C. Court of Appeal in Valdez v. Neron, 2022 BCCA 30, marking the end of a lengthy judicial process and confirming an outstanding result.
The case involved a personal injury lawsuit in which the plaintiff sued the defendants for damages arising from a motor vehicle accident. At trial the plaintiff sought over $1 million but the jury awarded damages of just $19,000. The plaintiff appealed the verdict and sought a new trial. The Court of Appeal declined to order a new trial, and instead exercised its discretion to substitute its own award for non-pecuniary damages in the amount of $35,000. The plaintiff applied for leave to appeal to the SCC seeking a new trial, and the country’s highest court dismissed the application.
This decision underscores the difficulty of obtaining a new trial following a jury verdict, and the importance of presenting robust and reliable evidence in personal injury cases to support claims for damages. It also serves as a reminder that a jury’s award can be subject to review by an appellate court, which may change the award if errors are found in the jury’s assessment of the evidence and damages.
Alexander Holburn successfully represented the respondents, Marie Neron and Blair Gosling, in the jury trial and at both levels of appeal. Alexander Holburn’s team was led by Joseph Cahan and Kathryn McGoldrick.
For the full decision, please click here: Valdez v. Neron, 2022 BCCA 301, leave to appeal to SCC refused, 40442 (30 March 2023).