The Poor Creature in Whitehorse as it was on Nov. 1, 2019. A judge has ordered the owner of the Poor Creature café to pay Yukonstruct nearly $8,000 in legal fees following the conclusion of their bitter landlord-tenant dispute. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

Poor Creature ordered to pay Yukonstruct legal costs

A judge has ordered the owner of the Poor Creature café to pay Yukonstruct nearly $8,000 in legal fees following the conclusion of their bitter landlord-tenant dispute.

Yukon Supreme Court Justice Ron Veale delivered his decision on applications for costs on May 15. His reasons for judgement were recently posted online.

“This application has proceeded in a similar manner to the court application heard on December 2019, and I summarize it in two words: hotly contested,” Veale said.

Yukonstruct and café owner Brioni Connolly got into a dispute last fall after Connolly claimed Yukonstruct had renewed her lease, which ended Oct. 31, 2019, for the café space in its lobby for another year. Yukonstruct said a renewal hadn’t happened and eventually took Connolly to court after she refused to leave.

Veale found that Connolly’s lease had not been renewed but that Yukonstruct had offered her additional time to leave. He gave her until Jan. 31 to clear out.

In its application, Yukonstruct had sought $36,634.59 in special costs to cover all of the legal fees it’d incurred because of the case, or, alternatively, “party and party” costs of $6,748.44 to cover part of the fees.

Connolly had applied for party-and-party costs.

To be awarded special costs, the successful party in a case needs to prove the other party acted in a “reprehensible” manner.

Veale ruled that Connolly’s conduct hadn’t risen to “reprehensible status,” although he said he had “a great deal of sympathy for Yukonstruct in the matter.”

“Without going into the lengthy and failed attempts to resolve this matter right up to the courtroom door, it is clear to me that the costs dispute is really about Yukonstruct’s desire to end the litigation and Ms. Connolly’s wish to keep the matter going before the Yukon Human Rights Commission,” he said. “That impasse made settlement impossible… The failure to settle litigation is simply a reflection of the nature of this dispute, and I am not going to say that either party should be penalized for that.”

He ordered Connolly pay Yukonstruct $6,748.44, plus $1,000 for the costs hearing.

Contact Jackie Hong at jackie.hong@yukon-news.com

Yukon courts

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