UPDATED CASE COMMENT: Ocean v. Economical Mutual Insurance Co.


UPDATE – Registrar’s motion for dismissal adjourned until October 31, 2013.

In a written decision released on August 7, 2013, the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal has refused to set the issue of liability in this longstanding matter down for appeal. The self-represented appellant, Ms. Ocean, had earlier lost a Registrar’s motion in which she had sought to be exempted from the obligation to produce a transcript of the trial.

This would appear to put this appeal at a standstill in a case that has notably seen orders for psychological evaluation of the plaintiff be struck on appeal. It has also involved dismissal of the claims of negligence and bad faith against Economical as well as the plaintiff’s claim for damages, due to successful applications to strike on the basis of abuse of process following Ms. Ocean’s refusal to participate further.

This case has provided no less than 16 reported decisions (possibly a Nova Scotia record for one case):

  1. 2008 NSSC 282 (Smith, A.C.J.) Application for order requiring Ms. Ocean to be assessed by an independent medical expert to determine competency; order granted and trial adjourned.
  2. 2009 NSCA 9 (Oland, J.A.) Appeal of the application for order for IME and request for a stay; appeal granted in part and allowing a short-term stay of the assessment.
  3. 2009 NSCA 24 (Fichaud, J.A.) Motion for directions and new hearing date
  4. 2009 NSCA 33 (Hamilton, J.A.) Motion by Ms. Ocean for fresh evidence and RCMP investigation
  5. 2009 NSCA 81 (Roscoe, Bateman and Hamilton, JJ.A.) Main appeal of the application for order for IME; appeal allowed therefore IME not required to proceed to trial.
  6. 2010 NSSC 20 (Smith, A.C.J.) Motion by Economical Mutual to quash two subpoenae issued against their counsel in the liability trial; motion granted.
  7. 2010 NSSC 314 (Smith, A.C.J.) Order granting three separate hearings (trifurcation) on the issues of liability for motor vehicle accident, allegations of bad faith against the insurer, and damages.
  8. 2010 NSSC 315 (Smith, A.C.J.) Motion by Economical to strike two reports authored by Ms. Ocean from admission at trial; motion granted.
  9. 2011 NSSC 202 (Smith, A.C.J.) Trial regarding liability for motor vehicle accident. Liability assessed at 80% on uninsured defendant Mr. Sullivan and 20% on plaintiff Ms. Ocean.
  10. 2011 NSSC 408 (Smith, A.C.J.) Motion for security against costs by Economical to be paid into court by Ms. Ocean in reference to the trial on issues of bad faith and negligence of Economical. Ms. Ocean was ordered to pay $10,000 into court.
  11. 2011 NSCA 106 (Mentioned above -Oland, J.A.) Motion by Ms. Ocean to be excused from producing transcript for purposes of appeal of liability trial.
  12. 2012 NSSC 144 (Smith, A.C.J.) Motion to strike on grounds of abuse of process brought by Economical in relation to trial of bad faith issue. Motion granted.
  13. 2013 NSSC 14 (Smith, A.C.J.) Motion to strike on grounds of abuse of process brought by Economical in relation to trial of damages issue. Motion denied and Ms. Ocean given “one last chance” to appear. [Subsequent court documents indicate that she did not and that a dismissal order was subsequently granted].
  14. 2013 NSSC 120 (Smith, A.C.J.) Award of costs in liability trial set at $38,704.19 against Ms. Ocean.
  15. 2013 NSCA 90 (Mentioned above -Bryson, J.A.) Motion to set matter for appeal denied.
  16. 2013 NSCA 114 (Fichaud, J.A.) Registrar’s motion to dismiss denied, adjourned to October 31, 2013.