The Rules of Small Claims Court do not provide for court ordered production of documents from non-parties. Does this mean obtaining such an order is not available in the Small Claims Court?
In Begum v. John Doe, the plaintiffs’ home was damaged when the defendant vehicle crashed into their front porch. The plaintiffs’ insurer paid out the claim and advanced a subrogated action in order to recover the amounts paid to the plaintiffs. However, the identity of the driver was unknown because he died in the accident and his name was redacted from the police report for privacy reasons.
In order to obtain the driver’s identity, the plaintiff brought a motion before the Brampton Small Claims Court seeking production of the un-redacted police records. Arguing by analogy to the Superior Court of Ontario’s Rules of Civil Procedure, the plaintiff was able to persuade the Deputy Judge that the refusal to grant such an order would severely prejudice the plaintiffs’ lawsuit. As a result, the court granted the request and ordered that the un-redacted police records be produced.
Begum is a unique case which could have a significant impact on production orders in the Small Claims Court.
If you have any questions about this article, please do not hesitate to contact MCR’s Senior Paralegal Paige Diebel who was counsel for the plaintiffs in the Begum case.