A settlement agreement can at times be beneficial to all parties involved. If you have been severely injured and plan on holding more than one party culpable, it could be a long and financially draining battle. At Rastin & Associates, we offer you a free initial consultation to ensure that you are highly informed and involved in the decision making process surrounding your specific circumstance. After all, it is your life and well-being at stake.
The legal costs and the amount of time it takes to see results on a claim can sometimes run high and long. In an effort to combat these issues, the Canadian courts have developed a process that originated from American jurisprudence. It provides substantial help in resolving multi-party litigation and is referred to as a Pierringer Agreement.
A Pierringer Agreement got its name from an infamous case in the United States; Pierringer v. Hoger. It is an arrangement where a plaintiff can accept settlement with one or more defendants. The settling defendants are released from the ongoing trial, leaving the non-settling defendants to continue on with the respective claims against them.
One of the first major noted attempts at using a Pierringer Agreement in Canada was during the British Columbia Ferry Corp. v. T&N trial. Here, the plaintiff was allowed to protect the defendants who were settling from any cross-claims of indemnity from the non-settling defendants. The Court also has to balance fairness to ensure that there would be no prejudice against the parties who decided not to settle.
Another concern surrounding the Pierringer Agreement was whether or not a defendant who decided to settle was able to share that information with any other defendants who were not settling. This issue was answered in the Supreme Court of Canada in Sable Offshore Energy Inc. vs. Ameron International Corp.
The plaintiff (Sable) was suing numerous defendants in a dispute over a product not living up to its advertised nature (an anti-corrosive paint which did not prevent corrosion). Sable got into Pierringer Agreements with some of the defendants. The remaining defendants however, wanted to know the settled amounts and the trial Judge concluded that it would infringe against terms of the settlement and disallowed it, citing settlement privilege.
The Nova Scotia Court of Appeal was in disagreement and ruled that the amounts should be disclosed amongst defendants. The laws surrounding this type of agreement was very open to different interpretations and The Supreme Court of Canada was the deciding factor in this ongoing battle. These Judges reinforced the initial trial Judge’s ruling of non-disclosure.
When you have been injured, it is imperative that you seek advice from a reputable personal injury lawyer. For matters concerning personal injury law, contact to the professionals at Rastin & Associates. We are looking forward to serving you.
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