In a recent decision of the Small Claims Court, a Deputy Judge has found that the Plaintiff failed to prove her case. Specifically, the Plaintiff sued a veterinary clinic and two veterinarians for administering a vaccination to her pet dog, Columbo, which she claimed led to the death of her beloved pet. The Deputy Judge found that the dog died of natural causes and dismissed the lawsuit.
While this proves just how much an onus there is on a Plaintiff to prove his/her case, I was particularly surprised by the magnitude of the costs award. Apparently, the Deputy Judge awarded $5,000 plus $2,285 in disbursements for a whopping total of $7,285 – a surprisingly high number for Small Claims Court. While the Deputy Judge arguably could have awarded higher (the limit is 15% of the claim so 3 parties x $3,750 = $11,250), because the Defendants were likely splitting the legal fees, this amount was certainly on the high end (unless there was an offer to settle in which case the this amount may represent a double costs award – more on offers to settle in a future post).
Read more about the case here.