In Gordon v Altus Group ( 2015 ONSC 6642) the Defendant was ordered to pay $225,000 plus disbursements on a partial indemnity basis after a 7 day trial in which the plaintiff was awarded $268,000 in damages. No Rule 49 offer from either party was operative. The plaintiff claimed $500,000 for substantial indemnity costs, meaning that he presumably actually paid his lawyer that amount. If that is true, the winning plaintiff was awarded a total of $493,000 and then paid it all to his lawyer.. Assuming that the defence lawyer also charged his employer client $500,000, the net economic result is that Altus paid ONE MILLION DOLLARS to lawyers and Mr Gordon got nothing. Altus is appealing the judgement so the legal costs will presumably keep rising.
The lesson to be learnt from this tragic episode is that there is no rational reason why a plaintiff should not a make a fair and reasonable Rule 49 offer as soon as possible so that the substantial indemnity damages keep rising as the litigation proceeds. This is especially where the defendant has made no reasonable offers at all and does not intend to ever do so.
When I practiced employment law I would often make a Rule 49 offer at the same time as filing the Statement of Claim if I acted for the Plaintiff, or if I was acting for the Defendant, at the same time as I filed the Statement of Defence.
This practice would insure that, unlike poor Mr Gordon, if I won at trial both the client and I would be appropriately compensated.
Needless to say, I never billed a client $500,000 for a 7 day trial.