Another Win for MBM - Increased Cost Awards by the Federal Court - The New Normal?

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By Scott Miller and Erin Creber, March 26th, 2018

Successful litigants in Canada’s Federal Court are experiencing a positive shift in the quantum of costs that are awarded by the Court. For years, cost awards have been based on a tariff which typically provides only modest compensation of a party’s actual legal fees. In the past, awards in excess of the standard set by the tariff were considered uncommon.

The recent decision of Weldpro Limited v Weldworld Corp et al (2018 FC 312), where the respondents were successfully represented by Scott Miller and the MBM litigation team, confirms there is an emerging trend by the Federal Court to award costs at a higher level of compensation than the standard level set by the tariff in the right circumstances.

In Weldpro, the applicant made a claim for passing off contrary to paragraphs 7(b) and (c) of the Trade-marks Act. In addition to naming the corporate respondent as a party, the applicant pursued the corporate respondent’s director, Mr. Kocken.

The Court’s decision was entirely in favour of the respondents. In awarding costs to the respondents, the Court took into consideration that there was no shared or split success in the case and that while the issues at play were relatively straightforward, the applicant unnecessarily complicated the proceedings which, on their face demonstrated little chance of success. It was also remarked that the applicant failed to advance the best available evidence and that the allegation of personal misconduct against the corporate respondent’s director was little more than a bald assertion that was not pursued in any fashion in the course of the hearing.

In departing from the standard level of compensation set by the tariff, the Court awarded the respondents a fixed sum amounting to about 23% of the actual legal costs, using the tariff only as a rough guide.

Notably, the award included reimbursement of Mr. Kocken’s travel expenses to attend the hearing. The Court provided that being named as a personal respondent understandably triggered Mr. Kocken’s desire to be present at the hearing.

The Weldpro decision establishes the ongoing opportunity for a winning party to receive an award of increased costs from the Federal Court. Further, litigants should be aware that cost consequences may result from a claim for personal liability against an individual party if such allegations are unfounded and unaddressed at the hearing of the matter.

For more information please contact:

Scott Miller, Partner, Head of the Litigation Department
T: 613.801.1099

E: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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