Charlesfort Developments Limited v. Ottawa 2021 Ont CA
Successful appellant claimed $292,000 for trial costs on a partial indemnity basis plus $566,000 for disbursements, of which $479,000 were for expert fees in delivering a report. The respondents agreed with the fees claimed, but took issue with the disbursements. The court noted that fees of experts are subject to a reasonability test, but are not subject to a further reduction based on the distinction between substantial indemnity costs and partial indemnity costs. The court confirmed that a disbursement for an expert report is reimbursable, regardless whether the expert is called to give evidence, because an expert report may help resolve the issues. In this case, the court held that the fees were not fully reasonable – noting that the respondent’s expert fees were ½ of the appellant’s expert fees and also contrasting the expert fees in comparison to the legal fees. Instead of the claimed amount for fees and disbursements of $771,000, the court awarded $700,000. In effect, the expert fees were reduced from $479,000 to $408,000.
Written by Jonathan Speigel, the founding partner of Speigel Nichols Fox LLP, leads the litigation and construction practices.