A Toronto doctor's $31 parking ticket has ballooned into a $70,537 legal bill.
According to the National Post, Dr. Anna Marie Arenson, a radiologist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, lost a class-action lawsuit over a $31 fine and has been ordered to pay the city’s legal bill.
Arenson insists a defect during inclement winter weather in the city’s pay-and-display parking machines, which didn't print her payment receipt, is responsible for her apparent infraction in 2007. An Ontario judge dismissed her bid.
According to court documents, Arenson tried to dodge the legal fees, claiming that she had little to gain financially from the ruling and slapping her with the hefty bill would "would discourage access to justice" by others.
However, Justice Paul Perell of the Ontario Superior Court rejected those claims.
"I see no reason not to award the costs as claimed," said Justice Perell in the ruling. "The amount of costs is reasonable in all the circumstances and should have been anticipated by Dr. Arenson, who under the Class Proceedings Act ... bears the risk of a costs award should the motion for certification be unsuccessful."
“I do not doubt that Dr. Arenson’s proposed class action interested the public and I appreciate that it attracted some media attention. However, that a case is interesting to the public does not mean that it is public interest litigation."
In 2008, an Ontario Superior Court judge had given approval to the doctor to launch the lawsuit, saying the city "knew or ought to have known" that some of its parking machines were malfunctioning in inclement weather, according to the Toronto Star.