Case Review: Independent Medical Examinations after 84-day Deadline (Economou v Zoppa)
In the case Economou v Zoppa, 2021 BCSC 2182, Master Harper considered whether to compel the Plaintiff to attend two independent medical examinations ("IME") requested by the Defendant. The IMEs were scheduled on October 28 and November 3, 2021, with a trial date of November 29, 2021.
In British Columbia, expert reports must be served at least 84 days prior to the trial date. The "84 day deadline" for service of reports in this matter was September 6, 2021.
The Court found that it was "far too late in the day" for the IMEs and dismissed the application of the Defendant. The Court also awarded special costs against the Defendant. Special costs are reserved for when reprehensible conduct has taken place. Here, the Court criticized the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia by noting:
 Special costs are awarded where there is reprehensible conduct. In this case, I believe that special costs are appropriate. The position of the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia—and I say that advisedly because this application is driven by the decision-making of the ICBC adjuster, or adjusters, from time to time—was simply to sit back, bide its time, and see what evidence the plaintiff produced at the 84‑day deadline, notwithstanding that plaintiff's counsel kept the adjuster up to date on a real‑time basis as to the plaintiff's surgery and the sequelae from that surgery.
 The defence knew exactly when the 84‑day deadline was and took no steps whatsoever to even provisionally book IMEs that could later be cancelled. That kind of strategy is incomprehensible. The plaintiff has been put to a great deal of inconvenience on this application close to trial. If special costs are needed to change the practice that Master Muir and others, including myself, deplore, then that is what is required.
Travis Sippel and John Bradbury of Bradbury Sippel Law Corporation are based in Nanaimo, British Columbia and offer personal injury and insurance defence services across British Columbia and Canada.