Brown v. Capital District Health Authority et al., 2006 NSSC 348

JudgeWarner, J.
CourtSupreme Court of Nova Scotia (Canada)
Case DateNovember 20, 2006
JurisdictionNova Scotia
Citations2006 NSSC 348;(2006), 249 N.S.R.(2d) 240 (SC)

Brown v. Health Authority (2006), 249 N.S.R.(2d) 240 (SC);

    792 A.P.R. 240

MLB headnote and full text

Temp. Cite: [2006] N.S.R.(2d) TBEd. NO.038

Lindsay Meredith Brown (plaintiff) v. The Capital District Health Authority and Colleen Taylor (defendants)

(S.H. No. 248201; 2006 NSSC 348)

Indexed As: Brown v. Capital District Health Authority et al.

Nova Scotia Supreme Court

Warner, J.

November 20, 2006.

Summary:

The plaintiff patient brought a negligence action for damages against a nurse and the hospital. The plaintiff claimed that the nurse, while on duty, self-administered narcotics intended for the plaintiff, gave the plaintiff saline instead and provided improper care while under the influence of narcotics. The hospital had filed a complaint against the nurse with the College of Nurses after investigating alleged narcotics misappropriation respecting unnamed patients. The nurse's licence to practise was suspended in settling the matter without going to a formal hearing. At discovery, the plaintiff sought disclosure of the nurse's entire discipline file from her and the College. The nurse and College objected to disclosure under rule 20.06, submitting that (1) the discipline file was not relevant to the negligence action; (2) disclosure was not necessary for the fair disposition of the action or to save costs; (3) disclosure would be injurious to the public interest; and (4) the information was privileged under the Wigmore test.

The Nova Scotia Supreme Court ordered partial disclosure. Information in the discipline file concerning the internal workings and proceedings of the College and its discipline process was irrelevant and need not be disclosed. The investigator's report, including the complaint, witness statements and the nurse's response, relating to the time period of the plaintiff's stay in hospital, were to be disclosed as relevant to the issues in the negligence action.

Medicine - Topic 6941.2

Nurses - Discipline - Confidentiality - [See Practice 4573 ].

Practice - Topic 4157

Discovery - General principles - Collateral use of discovery information (implied or deemed undertaking rule) - [See Practice - Topic 4573 ].

Practice - Topic 4264

Discovery - Examination - Range of - Fishing expeditions - The Nova Scotia Supreme Court stated that "unlike other jurisdiction, fishing expeditions (within limits) are permitted in Nova Scotia, and that, at the discovery, relevance is based on the pleadings and not on ultimate admissibility at trial" - See paragraph 9.

Practice - Topic 4573

Discovery - What documents must be produced - Documents related to or relevant and material to matters in issue - The plaintiff patient brought a negligence action against a nurse and the hospital, claiming that the nurse, while on duty, self-administered narcotics intended for the plaintiff, gave the plaintiff saline instead and provided improper care while under the influence of narcotics - The hospital filed a complaint against the nurse with the College of Nurses after investigating alleged narcotics misappropriation respecting unnamed patients - The nurse's licence to practise was suspended in a settlement of the matter without a formal hearing - At discovery, the plaintiff sought disclosure of the nurse's discipline file from her and the College - The nurse and College objected to disclosure under rule 20.06, submitting that (1) the discipline file was not relevant; (2) disclosure was not necessary for the fair disposition of the action or to save costs; (3) disclosure would be injurious to the public interest; and (4) the information was privileged under the Wigmore test - The Nova Scotia Supreme Court held that information in the discipline file concerning the internal workings and proceedings of the College and its discipline process was irrelevant and need not be disclosed - The investigator's report, including the complaint, witness statements and the nurse's response, relating to the approximate time period of the plaintiff's stay in hospital, were to be disclosed as relevant to the issues in the action (semblance of relevance as direct evidence, similar fact evidence and in assessing the nurse's credibility) - The nurse, who possessed all of the information, was not precluded by the implied undertaking rule from disclosing the information, which was necessary for a fair disposition of the action - The implied undertaking rule did not yet extend to administrative disciplinary proceedings - The information was not protected by privilege under the Wigmore test, as the information was not provided with the expectation of confidentiality and any injury to the College's ability to process discipline complaints was outweighed by the public interest in a correct disposition of the action.

Practice - Topic 4575

Discovery - What documents must be produced - Privilege - General - The Nova Scotia Supreme Court stated that "privilege is established when, on the facts of a case, or in respect of specific documents or communications, four criteria have been met: 1. The communications must originate in a confidence that they will not be disclosed. 2. This element of confidentiality must be essential to the full and satisfactory maintenance of the relation between the parties. 3. The relation must be one which in the opinion of the community ought to be sedulously fostered. 4. The injury that would inure to the relation by the disclosure of the communications must be greater than the benefit thereby gained for the correct disposal of litigation." - See paragraph 83.

Practice - Topic 4575.5

Discovery - What documents must be produced - Privileged documents - Information possessed by professional regulatory body - [See Practice - Topic 4573 ].

Practice - Topic 4589

Discovery - What documents must be produced - Disciplinary hearing complaint, witness statements, transcript, etc. - [See Practice - Topic 4573 ].

Cases Noticed:

Upham v. You (1986), 73 N.S.R.(2d) 73; 176 A.P.R. 73 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 9].

Coughlan et al. v. Westminer Canada Holdings Ltd. et al. (1989), 91 N.S.R.(2d) 214; 233 A.P.R. 214 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 9].

Central Mortgage and Housing Corp. v. Foundation Co. of Canada Ltd. (1982), 54 N.S.R.(2d) 43; 112 A.P.R. 43 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 9].

Campbell v. Jones et al. (1998), 168 N.S.R.(2d) 1; 595 A.P.R. 1 (S.C.), refd to. [para. 10].

Di-Anna Aqua Inc. v. Ocean Spar Technologies L.L.C. et al. (2002), 205 N.S.R.(2d) 97; 643 A.P.R. 97; 2002 NSSC 138, refd to. [para. 10].

Gould v. Edmonds Landscape & Construction Services Ltd. et al. (1997), 166 N.S.R.(2d) 334; 498 A.P.R 334 (S.C.), refd to. [para. 11].

R. v. Mohan (1994), 166 N.R. 245; 71 O.A.C. 241; 1994 CarswellOnt 66 (S.C.C.), refd to. [para. 11].

Crosby v. Fisher (2002), 202 N.S.R.(2d) 196; 632 A.P.R. 196; 2002 CarswellNS 104; 2002 NSSC 76, refd to. [paras. 11, 60].

Eastern Canadian Coal Gas Venture Ltd. v. Cape Breton Development Corp. (1995), 141 N.S.R.(2d) 180; 403 A.P.R. 180; 1995 CarswellNS 436 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 14].

Securicor Canada Ltd. v. Dowling et al. (2003), 221 N.S.R.(2d) 79; 697 A.P.R. 79; 2003 NSCA 69, refd to. [para. 14].

2502731 Nova Scotia Ltd. v. Plazacorp Retail Properties Ltd. (2004), 227 N.S.R.(2d) 120; 720 A.P.R. 120; 2004 NSCA 123, refd to. [para. 14].

Nova Scotia (Attorney General) v. Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Co. of Canada et al. (2005), 230 N.S.R.(2d) 324; 729 A.P.R. 324; 2005 NSCA 34, refd to. [para. 14].

Dominey v. Cosmetology Association of Nova Scotia (2005), 234 N.S.R.(2d) 316; 745 A.P.R. 316; 2005 NSCA 100, refd to. [para. 14].

Dhawan v. College of Physicians and Surgeons (N.S.) (1998), 168 N.S.R.(2d) 201; 505 A.P.R. 201 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 15].

L.D.F. v. A Psychiatrist, [1984] B.C.J. No. 2929 (S.C.), refd to. [para. 15].

Bergwitz v. Fast, 1980 CarswellBC 13 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 15].

R. v. Handy (J.), [2002] 2 S.C.R. 908; 290 N.R. 1; 160 O.A.C. 201; 1 C.R.(6th) 203, refd to. [para. 18].

Statton v. Johnson (1999), 120 B.C.A.C. 91; 196 W.A.C. 91; 1999 CarswellBC 545 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 23].

College of Physicians and Surgeons v. K. (1987), 19 O.A.C. 51; 1987 CarswellOnt 1056 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 23].

Mood Music Publishing Co. v. DeWolfe Ltd., [1976] 1 All E.R. 763 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 23].

Sezerman v. Youle (1996), 150 N.S.R.(2d) 161; 436 A.P.R. 161 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 34].

Colby Physioclinic Ltd. v. Ruiz (2005), 237 N.S.R.(2d) 342; 754 A.P.R. 342; 2005 NSSC 287, refd to. [para. 34].

Lac d'Amiante du Québec ltée v. 2858-0702 Québec Inc. et al. (2001), 274 N.R. 201; 2001 SCC 51, refd to. [para. 34].

Sawchuk v. Lee-Sing et al. (1987), 58 Sask.R. 94 (Q.B.), refd to. [para. 35].

D.P. v. Wagg (2004), 187 O.A.C. 26; 2004 CarswellOnt 1983 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 46].

Derby v. Weldon (No. 2), [1998] 1 All E.R. 1002, refd to. [para. 47].

El-Bayoumi v. Wade (1989), 103 N.B.R.(2d) 49; 259 A.P.R. 49 (T.D.), refd to. [para. 57].

A. v. L. (1998), 214 A.R. 250; 1998 CarswellAlta 99 (Q.B.), refd to. [para. 58].

Slavutch v. University of Alberta, [1976] 1 S.C.R. 254; 3 N.R. 587, refd to. [para. 59].

Finley v. University Hospital Board, Sugarman, McLean and Gormley (1986), 53 Sask.R. 124 (Q.B.), refd to. [para. 62].

Smith v. Royal Columbian Hospital, 1981 CarswellBC 143 (S.C.), refd to. [para. 65].

McNeill v. Nicoll, [1993] B.C.J. No. 638 (Master), refd to. [para. 65].

Cooper v. Registrar of Mortgage Brokers (B.C.) et al., [2001] 3 S.C.R. 537; 277 N.R. 113; 160 B.C.A.C. 268; 261 W.A.C. 268, refd to. [para. 66].

Cooper v. Hobart - see Cooper v. Registrar of Mortgage Brokers (B.C.) et al.

Edwards et al. v. Law Society of Upper Canada et al., [2001] 3 S.C.R. 562; 277 N.R. 145; 153 O.A.C. 388, refd to. [para. 66].

Finney v. Barreau du Québec, [2004] 2 S.C.R. 17; 321 N.R. 361; 2004 SCC 36, refd to. [para. 66].

Calgary Regional Health Authority v. United Western Communications Ltd. et al. (1999), 242 A.R. 173; 1999 ABQB 516, refd to. [para. 70].

Compton (Alfred) Amusement Machines v. Customs and Excise Commissioners (No. 2), [1974] A.C. 405 (H.L.), refd to. [para. 77].

British Steel Corp. v. Granada Television, [1981] 1 All E.R. 417, refd to. [para. 77].

R. v. Gruenke, [1991] 3 S.C.R. 263; 130 N.R. 161; 75 Man.R.(2d) 112; 6 W.A.C. 112, refd to. [para. 78].

A.M. v. Ryan, [1997] 1 S.C.R. 157; 207 N.R. 81; 85 B.C.A.C. 81; 138 W.A.C. 81, refd to. [para. 78].

Wright Estate v. Ship Sealnes, [2002] B.C.T.C. Uned. 117; 2002 BSCS 473, refd to. [para. 86].

P.L.F. v. L.R., [2000] B.C.T.C. 338; 2002 BCSC 245 (S.C. Master), refd to. [para. 86].

F.S. et al., Re (1997), 208 A.R. 370; 1997 CarswellAlta 918 (Prov. Ct.), refd to. [para. 86].

Riddick v. Thames Board Mills Ltd., [1977] 3 All E.R. 677 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 113].

Authors and Works Noticed:

Cudmore, Gordon D., Civil Evidence Handbook (Looseleaf Ed.), c. 6.9 [para. 54].

Paciocco, David M., and Stuesser, Lee, The Law of Evidence (4th Ed. 2005), c. 7.1, c. 7.5 [para. 76]; pp. 50 to 93 [para. 18].

Phipson on Evidence (15th Ed. 2000), c. 20, c. 21 [para. 77]; pp. 595 to 597 [para. 47].

Sopinka, John, Lederman, Sidney N., and Bryant, Alan W., The Law of Evidence in Canada (2nd Ed. 1999), c. 14.1 to 14.41 [para. 76]; sect. 2.35 [para. 10].

Sopinka, John, Lederman, Sidney N., and Bryant, Alan W., The Law of Evidence in Canada (2nd Ed. 1999) (2004 Supp.), c. 14.22.1 to 14.22.3 [para. 76]; pp. 69 to 92 [para. 18].

Counsel:

Alan Parish, Q.C., for the plaintiff/applicant;

Cheryl Hodder, for the defendant, Colleen Taylor;

Karen Bennett-Clayton, watching brief for the defendant, Capital District Health Authority;

Marjorie Hickey, Q.C., for the College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia.

This application was heard on October 10-11, 2006, at Halifax, N.S., before Warner, J., of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court, who delivered the following judgment on November 20, 2006.

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8 practice notes
  • Armoyan v. Armoyan, 2015 NSSC 241
    • Canada
    • Nova Scotia Supreme Court of Nova Scotia (Canada)
    • June 4, 2015
    ...209 N.R. 252 ; 159 N.S.R.(2d) 1 ; 468 A.P.R. 1 (S.C.C.), refd to. [para. 12]. Brown v. Capital District Health Authority et al. (2006), 249 N.S.R.(2d) 240; 792 A.P.R. 240 ; 2006 NSSC 348 , refd to. [para. Rogers v. Wallascheck et al., [2001] O.T.C. 759 (Sup. Ct.), refd to. [para. 27]......
  • Grant v. V & G Realty Ltd. et al.,
    • Canada
    • Small Claims Court of Nova Scotia (Canada)
    • July 10, 2007
    ...Carbone v. De La Rocha (1993), 13 O.R.(3d) 355 (Gen. Div.), refd to. [para. 23]. Brown v. Capital District Health Authority et al. (2006), 249 N.S.R.(2d) 240; 792 A.P.R. 240 (S.C.), refd to. [para. Goodman v. Rossi (1995), 83 O.A.C. 38; 125 D.L.R.(4th) 613 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 27]. Sybro......
  • Carter Estate v. Fleming et al., (2015) 367 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 253 (PEICA)
    • Canada
    • April 22, 2015
    ...Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 255; 610 A.P.R. 255; 2001 PESCTD 62, refd to. [para. 20]. Brown v. Capital District Health Authority et al. (2006), 249 N.S.R.(2d) 240; 792 A.P.R. 240; 2006 NSSC 348, refd to. [para. 23]. Griffin v. Summerside (City) et al. (2010), 299 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 119; 926 A.P.......
  • Northwest Organics, 2017 BCSC 673
    • Canada
    • Supreme Court of British Columbia (Canada)
    • April 25, 2017
    ...cannot be used to create, by the back door, a class privilege that doesn’t otherwise exist: Brown v. Capital District Health Authority, 2006 NSSC 348 at para. [82] To this concern I add a second. Parties (like the College in this case) who seek to protect communications from disclosure are ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
8 cases
  • Armoyan v. Armoyan, 2015 NSSC 241
    • Canada
    • Nova Scotia Supreme Court of Nova Scotia (Canada)
    • June 4, 2015
    ...209 N.R. 252 ; 159 N.S.R.(2d) 1 ; 468 A.P.R. 1 (S.C.C.), refd to. [para. 12]. Brown v. Capital District Health Authority et al. (2006), 249 N.S.R.(2d) 240; 792 A.P.R. 240 ; 2006 NSSC 348 , refd to. [para. Rogers v. Wallascheck et al., [2001] O.T.C. 759 (Sup. Ct.), refd to. [para. 27]......
  • Grant v. V & G Realty Ltd. et al., 2007 NSSM 37
    • Canada
    • Small Claims Court of Nova Scotia (Canada)
    • July 10, 2007
    ...Carbone v. De La Rocha (1993), 13 O.R.(3d) 355 (Gen. Div.), refd to. [para. 23]. Brown v. Capital District Health Authority et al. (2006), 249 N.S.R.(2d) 240; 792 A.P.R. 240 (S.C.), refd to. [para. Goodman v. Rossi (1995), 83 O.A.C. 38; 125 D.L.R.(4th) 613 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 27]. Sybro......
  • Carter Estate v. Fleming et al., (2015) 367 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 253 (PEICA)
    • Canada
    • April 22, 2015
    ...Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 255; 610 A.P.R. 255; 2001 PESCTD 62, refd to. [para. 20]. Brown v. Capital District Health Authority et al. (2006), 249 N.S.R.(2d) 240; 792 A.P.R. 240; 2006 NSSC 348, refd to. [para. 23]. Griffin v. Summerside (City) et al. (2010), 299 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 119; 926 A.P.......
  • Northwest Organics, 2017 BCSC 673
    • Canada
    • Supreme Court of British Columbia (Canada)
    • April 25, 2017
    ...cannot be used to create, by the back door, a class privilege that doesn’t otherwise exist: Brown v. Capital District Health Authority, 2006 NSSC 348 at para. [82] To this concern I add a second. Parties (like the College in this case) who seek to protect communications from disclosure are ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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