In the recent Motion Order, LV and Economical Insurance Company, 2023 ONLAT 22-000137/AABS, the Licence Appeal Tribunal denied an applicant’s motion to add issues in dispute approximately one month prior to the date of the hearing. The Adjudicator reasoned that it would not give the respondent insurer enough time to respond to the new issues and the issues could be addressed in a subsequent LAT application.
The applicant was injured in a motor vehicle accident on July 21, 2021 and sought benefits pursuant to the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule. The applicant was denied certain benefits and submitted an application to the Licence Appeal Tribunal. A 4-day videoconference hearing was scheduled for May 1-4, 2023. On March 22, 2023 the applicant filed a Notice of Motion requesting two new issues be added in the dispute. The first one was a treatment plan (OCF-18) for medical cannabis dated December 16, 2022. The second one was an OCF-18 dated February 15, 2023 for a Sleep Country bed system.
The applicant argued that adding these issues to the proceeding would permit for an efficient and cost-effective resolution of this application. If these issues were not added to this proceeding, they would be forced to file a new application which would require the use of additional, unnecessary resources from this Tribunal. The respondent opposed the motion and argued that by bringing the motion approximately one month before the hearing, the respondent would not have the ability to respond to these issues, to meet the required timelines and to prepare for the hearing. The respondent also argued the applicant failed to provide any case law supporting the proposition that issues in dispute can be added 18 days before a hearing.
The Adjudicator denied the applicant’s motion. Procedural fairness requires that a party be able to respond to the position taken against it. Relying on Rule 3.1 of the Tribunal’s Common Rules of Practice and Procedure, the Adjudicator must exercise their own discretion based on all the facts, in deciding how the case before them should proceed. In the case at hand, the deadline for documentary production had passed and no documentary production relating to the proposed treatment plans had occurred yet. The deadline to exchange final lists of witnesses had also passed and the parties had until April 21, 2023 to exchange their hearing briefs. Since the treatment plans were denied in 2023, the applicant would not be prejudiced if these treatment plans were not added to this application – they still had time to file a new application. This would also allow these treatment plans to proceed through the Tribunal’s dispute resolution process which would allow the parties to attend a case conference and ensure a fair and efficient resolution of the dispute.
This decision highlights the challenges faced by parties to a LAT dispute where there is an ongoing obligation to adjust claims. There is no guarantee that once a dispute is commenced at the LAT, that new denials will not occur subsequently. While there may be some administrative efficiency in having all disputes dealt with at the same time, there is also a need for finality in determining what the issues are that are proceeding to a hearing, to be able to prepare for that hearing without having new issues added along the way.