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Trial begins in Wang v BC Medical Association and named individuals

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BC Courts, 800 Smithe Street, Vancouver, BC

Vancouver BC - January 29, 2012.
Z. Essak, MD

Almost four years after a dispute erupted between Dr Caroline Wang and other directors of the BC Medical Association at the Board meeting of February 1 and 2, 2008 the matter is now being heard at Trial in the BC Supreme Court.

The Trial, which is a civil matter not a criminal one, began on Monday January 23, 2012. It is scheduled to proceed for twenty days until February 17, 2012. The location is room 43 of the BC Supreme Court, 800 Smithe Street, Vancouver, BC. The Honourable Mr. Justice Grauer presiding.

Now the Trial has begun it is a time to see and learn. How will the Court resolve this matter involving legal expenses likely to exceed $2 million? Will the outcome of the Trial affect the workings of the BC Medical Association? Will it more broadly affect the workings of other Societies incorporated in BC?

On the first morning and the early part of the afternoon the Court heard opening statements from the counsel for the plaintiff, Dr Caroline Wang. A documents agreement and four volumes, the common book of documents, were entered as Exhibits 1 and 2. Then the Court proceeded to examination through the afternoon and the rest of the week.

With three weeks of Trial still to come the Court has more to hear. In the first week the Court heard evidence including evidence previously not available to the BCMA general membership and others as it was contained in in-camera minutes, transcripts of recordings of the Board and Executive committee, relevant email, discussion and other items.

The Trial is open for anyone to attend and hear the proceedings. Attending court, even if only for part of a day, is an opportunity to see the court process and hear evidence presented.

Court hours are 10:00-12:30 and 14:00-16:00 Monday to Friday.

Some background to the matters at issue can be found in the reasons for Judgment by the Honourable Mr. Justice Truscott on August 26, 2010 ruling to consolidate for purposes of trial Dr Wang's claims for alleged Breach of Contract and Defamation. This can be found online,

Other Court Judgments in the interim before the Trial related to this matter include:

Order to post Security for costs denied

The duty to defend, BC Medical Association and Individuals v Aviva Insurance Company of Canada

An easy to read article by a lawyer in Abbotsford, BC reflecting on some aspects of this case is available online, It should be noted that the Court Judgment to which the lawyer refers in his post is the first in this matter and was later set aside by the Court of Appeal on a procedural point without prejudice. Following the Court of Appeal decision Dr Wang filed a claim for Breach of Contract that is consolidated in this Trial. It will now be up to the Trial Judge to rule on the matters at issue.


With respect to the insurance…

With respect to the ruling as to why the Aviva Insurance Company must fund – but may not control – the defence of the Association, a lawyer's arguably easier to read synopsis can be found here.