The Wagners - A Serious Injury Law Firm blog shares Personal Injury stories and opinions relevant to Halifax, Nova Scotia residents. Let us know what you think.

The End of “Fishing Expeditions” in Civil Litigation

by | Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Civil litigation can be costly and time consuming. These costs can make civil justice unaffordable to many victims injured in car accidents, medical malpractice, slips and falls, etc. Parties to civil litigation are obligated to disclose all relevant documents. The more that a party is required to produce, the more costly and time consuming the litigation will be. Insurance companies understand this and it is not uncommon for them to demand production of large volumes of materials with the effect of increasing costs to injured victims (and making access to justice inaccessible). Courts in Nova Scotia have routinely allowed this to take place. Insurance companies were allowed to go on “fishing expeditions”. Production would be ordered so long as the materials produced may be helpful. Often times, injured victims – at their own cost – would have to produce materials that ultimately had no relevance. This approach drove up the cost of litigation and mainly benefited insurance companies.

Thankfully, change is coming. A judge in a recent slip and fall case ordered that the injured victim produce materials that would allow the defendant to go on a ‘fishing expedition” in hopes of finding something that may be relevant. The lawyers at Wagners appealed this decision to the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal and were successful.

In a seminal decision released early April 2011, the Court of Appeal reined in the disclosure obligations of parties in civil litigation. No longer do injured victims – at their own cost – have to disclose things that may ultimately be irrelevant. From now on, only absolutely relevant materials have to be produced. “Fishing expeditions” are no longer permitted. The Court of Appeal accepted Wagners’ argument and found that the restricted disclosure requirements will save parties time and expense.

The importance of a judicial system that fosters access to justice cannot be overstated. The lawyers at Wagners are proud to be at the forefront of a change in the law; a change that will result in victims, injured as a result of someone’s negligence, receiving justice and compensation quicker and at less cost to themselves.

Sam M
Sam M
16:11 19 Jan 18
Dyana was so kind to help me and respond to my query within 24h even though they do not pursue the specific class action I was looking for. She sent me few links by email. Thank you Dyana.
linda frausell
linda frausell
01:21 16 May 17
I have dealt with Wagner and Associates over the years and have received great advice,support and results . Their team is very respectful and show they care. You can trust them to take care of you and they always have your best interest in hand. I would definetly recommend them .
frank slaunwhite
frank slaunwhite
16:29 03 May 17
Ray Wagner and his legal team have been representing my niece and I for many years. They have been honest and quick to respond to all our needs in a professional manner. I highly recommend Wagners Law Firm and appreciate their caring approach. Thanks
Missy Day
Missy Day
12:03 06 Oct 16
I can't speak highly enough about the lawyers at Wagners who represented me for injuries from not one but two motor vehicle accidents. They were very professional and approachable. I was kept informed of all steps in the process and all of my inquiries were responded to and dealt with very quickly. The lawyers are knowledgeable and showed great empathy for what I was going through. I would recommend this firm to anyone!
Nicholas Gordon
Nicholas Gordon
11:30 06 Oct 16
I contacted Wagners about a motor vehicle accident. I was able to speak with someone right away. The staff were very pleasant and helpful. I received a response about pursuing a case the next day. I would highly recommend this firm.
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