SCC Case Information
Eric Victor Cojocaru, an infant by his Guardian Ad Litem, Monica Cojocaru, et al. v. British Columbia Women's Hospital and Health Center, et al.
(British Columbia) (Civil) (By Leave)
Torts - Judgments, Reasons for judgment.
Case summaries are prepared by the Office of the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Canada (Law Branch) for information purposes only.
Appeals Judgments Reasons for judgment Decision of the trial judge contained large sections of the appellants’ written closing submissions, without attribution Court of Appeal majority allowed appeals and ordered a new trial If a trial judge adopts the submissions of only one party into his or her reasons for judgment, is the presumption of judicial integrity and impartiality so fundamentally displaced so as to render the trial unfair (or a nullity) in the absence of cogent evidence of bias? Whether the trial judge committed a palpable and overriding error by failing to conduct an independent assessment of the evidence and in failing to consider the respondents’ causation defence.
The appellant, Eric Victor Cojocaru, the son of the appellant Monica Cojocaru, suffered brain damage during his birth at the B.C. Women’s Hospital and Health Care Center. An action was commenced against the hospital and its employees. At trial, the respondents were found to be liable and damages of $4 million were awarded. However, in his reasons, the trial judge copied almost word for word, without attribution, significant portions of the appellants’ closing submissions. The majority of the Court of Appeal allowed the appeals and ordered a new trial. The dissenting reasons reviewed the trial decision on its merits and would have allowed the appeals in part