Syed v. Petrie 2020 Ont SCJ
A mistrial was granted after the plaintiff collapsed on the witness stand. The judge awarded costs thrown away to the defendant. He noted that there were 3 scenarios for adjournments: (i) one of the parties was at fault and needed the adjournment, (ii) the court had its own scheduling problems, and (iii) a party requested an adjournment as a result of no fault on his part (e.g. death of a witness, illness of counsel, etc.). In the first category, the court will grant the adjournment, but with an order for the payment of costs thrown away. In the 2nd category, the court will grant the adjournment with no costs to either side. In the 3rd category, the court will grant the adjournment with costs still being awarded against the party requesting the adjournment. The judge differentiated between fault and responsibility. The party may not have been at fault, but it was still responsible for the wasted costs. Given that there was no fault in this case, the costs ordered to be paid were not payable until the end of trial.
Written by Jonathan Speigel, the founding partner of Speigel Nichols Fox LLP, leads the litigation and construction practices.