Nemchin v. Green, 2017 ONSC 2126

This summary appears among several other noteworthy cases in the June editon of the OTLA Update, available online for OTLA members. Click here to download 

Plaintiff’s attempt to pre-screen jurors for “connection” to insurers refused.

Released April 11, 2017 | Full Decision [CanLII]


The plaintiff moved for an Order that the names of the automobile insurers for the Plaintiff and Defendant be made known to prospective jurors in order to determine whether there was a connection between a prospective juror and the insurers. The Plaintiff argued that a “connection” would not include those who were insured by the automobile insurers in question, but ought to include anyone that was related to someone (by marriage, blood or friendship) who was employed to one of the insurers. The Plaintiff led no evidence that such a connection would result in a realistic prospect of partiality.

Decision of the Trial Judge

The Honourable Madam Justice Sylvia Corthorn denied the Plaintiff’s motion. She explained that the Plaintiff would receive sufficient information about the employer of each juror, and if the juror was retired, the name of their former employer.

Justice Corthorn noted that the standard information provided about prospective jurors did not placate the Plaintiff’s phobia at the prospect of a potentially partial peer:

66 That was not enough for the plaintiff. She submitted that more must be known about the potential jurors. The plaintiff raised the possibility of a juror who was “connected” by marriage, by blood, or by friendship to an individual who works for one of the insurers.

Justice Corthorn believed that to mention the insurers during the prescreening process would create more problems than it would solve. It created the risk that the jury would believe that the Plaintiff would be ultimately compensated by an insurance company. This, she said, also ignored the possibility of an over limits claim having to paid by the Defendant personally.

Justice Corthorn noted that even if a juror with an undisclosed secret connection to an insurer had infiltrated the jury, and ignored her repeated reminders of a juror’s duty to remain impartial, that their impact on the case would be small:

74 The risk of a juror with an undisclosed connection to one of the insurers remaining silent and participating through deliberations was also small because there are six jurors and their decisions on each question do not have to be unanimous.

Read the full decision on CanLII
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