In a prior blog post, we reviewed the case of Couture v. TSCC No. 2187, where the Court found that the condominium corporation had conducted itself in a harsh, burdensome and oppressive manner in a dispute with a unit owner concerning the parking space that she leased from the condominium corporation. The corporation had wrongfully terminated the owner’s parking lease, illegally registered liens against the owner’s unit and had improperly imposed administrative fees against the owner. The unit owner was awarded nominal damages in the amount of $1000 as compensation for the corporation’s oppression.
In his decision, the Judge chastised both parties for the adversarial approach that they took, rather than trying to reconcile their differences in a more conciliatory manner.
The owner sought costs in the amount of $20,855 on the basis that she was successful in her court application.
The corporation argued that the owner should be denied costs because the amount of the damages awarded was within the financial jurisdiction of the Small Claims Court. This argument failed as section 135 of the Condominium Act requires that an application seeking an oppression remedy must be made in the Superior Court of Justice.
However, even though the corporation had acted illegally and in an oppressive manner, the Judge ordered that each party be responsible for their own costs. Although the unit owner was successful in her application, the Judge felt that it would not be fair to award the unit owner any costs as her conduct in the dispute escalated the hostilities between the parties.
As noted in the original decision, “her actions did not demonstrate good faith, reasonable, or neighbourly conduct either.”
As we have noted in previous blog posts, the awarding of costs is in the discretion of the Court. Successful litigants cannot assume that they will be awarded costs. How the parties conduct themselves in a dispute will be scrutinized, and the Court will not look favourably at those who act in an aggressive, combative and unreasonable manner.