Morlan v. Barrett, 2012 BCCA 66
The Plaintiff was injured in a motor vehicle collision. She was ultimately diagnosed with fibromyalgia. At trial she was represented by David Kolb and Mr. Cameron. The trial judge awarded significant damages for diminished earning capacity despite the Plaintiff having been diligent and not missing any work up to the time of trial.
ICBC appealed arguing that the Judge erred in awarding these damages because the judge relied on “common experience that a person with a stable but persistent energy-draining (missing something) ICBC argued that this was speculative and there was no evidence to suggest this is so. While the Plaintiff’s total damages were reduced slightly at the appeal to $475,000, the BC Court of Appeal was quick to dismiss the above argument finding it was simply a matter of common sense that chronic pain takes its toll. In doing so the Court provided the following reasons: Accepting that, to use the expression used at trial and at the hearing of this appeal, Ms. Morlan’s condition had “plateaued”, the fact remains that she would forever suffer from debilitating chronic pain along with headaches, symptoms that could be reduced, but not eliminated, by medication. In other words, throughout each and every day of her life, Ms. Morlan would have to cope with some level of discomfort. In my view, it was open to the trial judge to find—essentially as a matter of common sense—that constant and continuous pain takes its toll and that, over time, such pain will have a detrimental effect on a person’s ability to work, regardless of what accommodations an employer is prepared to make.The Plaintiff was represented at trial by Mr. David Kolb and Mr. Cameron. Her appeal was conducted by Mr. Kolb, Mr. Cameron and senior appeal counsel, Mr. Barry Fraser.