Canadian Underwriter

Vehicle accident plaintiff loses bid to appeal without paper court transcripts

July 25, 2018   by Greg Meckbach

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A motor vehicle accident victim wanting to appeal a personal injury lawsuit award without having to pay to get paper court transcripts has lost her bid to appeal using audio court records.

Yolando Girao was injured in 2002 in an accident in Mississauga, Ont. She sued Lynn Cunningham. In Girao v. Cunningham, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice awarded Girao $75,000, consisting of $45,000 for general damages and $30,000 for loss of income.

Girao wants to appeal because, in addition to the $75,000 she was awarded, she is also seeking money for non-pecuniary damages, more commonly known as “pain and suffering.”

In a ruling released in 2017, the Court of Appeal for Ontario said she will have to get court transcripts of the trial if she wants to appeal.

Girao had “sought leave to file a digital audio recording of the trial instead of transcripts,” the three-judge panel of the Court of Appeal for Ontario wrote, adding that Girao “stressed her financial inability to obtain the transcripts.”

The Court of Appeal for Ontario would not let Girao file her appeal based on an audio recording rather than a paper transcript.

Girao applied Nov. 23, 2017 for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. The top court announced July 19, 2018 that it will not hear Girao’s appeal, dismissing her application and awarding costs to the defendant.

“In due course, as the court embraces modern technology and electronic data, the time may come when the rules requiring the filing of paper transcripts are made more flexible,” the Court of Appeal for Ontario wrote in its unanimous ruling released Oct. 23, 2017. “The preparation of transcripts adds significant cost to many appeals and often accounts for the major portion of the delay in scheduling them.

“However, practices and procedures must be developed to enable parties and the court to use audio recordings efficiently.”