Plaintiff not Required to Disclose Amount of Previous Settlement

 

Lynda Anderson suffered injuries in a motor vehicle accident in 2001.  She sued the at-fault driver and in March 2008, she settled her lawsuit.

In June 15, 2005, Ms. Anderson suffered additional injuries in a slip and fall.  She started a second lawsuit against the owner and occupier of the property where she fell.  At her examination for discovery in the slip and fall action, the defence lawyers asked that Ms. Anderson produce copies of the settlement documents from her 2001 MVA.  Ms. Anderson refused to produce these documents.  She agreed to produce her medical records and reports, but felt that the settlement documents were irrelevant.  The defendants brought a motion to compel Ms. Anderson to produce the information.

In Anderson v. Cara Operations Limited (Montana’s Cookhouse), Mr. Justice Arrell held that the settlement documents from the 2001 MVA were irrelevant to the slip and fall action.  The defendants in the slip and fall action would only be responsible for the damages that they caused.  The extent of those damages would be determined by looking to the medical reports and accident benefits file from the 2001 MVA and the medical reports from the slip and fall itself.

Justice Arrell further held that what the plaintiff recovered by way of settlement in the 2001 MVA “cannot possibly be relevant to the damages which may  be assessed against these defendants in this action.”

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