Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Special Costs: Remedy for a SLAPP lawsuit

In a quite strongly worded judgment, Madam Justice Bruce confirmed in Scory v. Krannitz, 2011 BCSC 1344, that special costs are a proper remedy for SLAPP (strategic lawsuits against public participation) lawsuits, civil actions to stop opposition to a municipal zoning or permit application, and actions which "interfere with the democratic process."  In making her decision, she also took into account the impact of the lawsuit, which "effectively silenced the respondents’ participation in the Township’s decision on the landfill application and on all future applications that may have an impact on the local environment" and the fact the respondents did not have deep pockets and could not "risk becoming involved in another expensive and time-consuming lawsuit based solely on their lawful participation in government decision-making."

Ultimately, she ordered special costs and double costs on Scale B from date of offers to settle without costs.  The successful litigants were given a choice of taking either special costs or double costs, whichever were higher.