Appealing the Cost Order

October 14th, 2019

Last week we reported the decision of Justice Carole Brown to assess $44,320.57 in costs penalties against me personally for the impertinence in taking Ontario’s anti-SLAPP law at face value.  Justice Brown did this in defiance of that law’s no cost award provisions.  She didn’t seem bothered about that.

We’re bothered about it.  This isn’t the first time we’ve suffered the, shall we say, creative interpretations of law in the court system. 

It’s amusing now, to read her bio from 2011, when she was first appointed a Judge in Ontario. 

“Carole has been a valued partner of the Firm,” said the bumf, “and we are very proud of her.”  Then it gets Freudian; “Carole developed a broad background in” -then it lists what they think she’s known for, including; “professional negligence”. 

Yes, we know the meaning, but the prose is prescient in so many ways.

Well, we’ve decided to appeal Justice Brown’s professional cost award.  Our appeal will take another year and will likely cost nearly the sum she awarded to the civil service, but on reflection and in the context of the other litigations launched by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA), all droning on interminably, an appeal is strategically more favourable than paying them what they want.

That said, before we made the decision to appeal, we’d also made some study of how to pay while making a point.  It may amuse you to learn that if we had to pay we’d decided to pay our opponent the full sum of the cost order entirely in coins.

That’s right; $44,320.57 paid in a mix of pennies, nickels and dimes.  Here’s how it would’ve worked…

It would take a lot of coins to pay this bill in coins.  Step one is a mathematical odyssey.  I needed to know how much of each coin was needed, and how much area was needed to process all of this; hence the math.

Paying such a bill in dimes is inefficient, if the goal is theatrics and point-making.  Rather, its best to weight one’s payment using more heavy coins with low value than light coins with high value.  So one should use a lot of pennies, a lot of nickels, but only a sprinkling of dimes. 

I’d decided on a pennies / nickels / dimes ratio of 55% / 30% / 15%.  Mathematically, this means acquiring 443,205 dimes, 886,411 nickels, and a noteworthy 4,432,057 pennies. 

I knew the pennies part would be a problem, as they’re being withdrawn from circulation.  But, in the scheme of things, this isn’t a biggie.

Where to find absurd quantities of coin?  I called the Royal Bank.  I waited patiently in the queue while being told, repeatedly, that my call was important.  They had no idea.

“I would like to order five-point-seven million coins, please.”  That got a laugh.  I briefly regaled the friendly Royal Bank lady of the cost order, pointing out that a ridiculous Ruling deserved an equivalent compliance. 

It turns out that all coin denominations are delivered to bank branches in boxes, usually a couple hundred dollars’ worth per box.  Apparently nobody’s ordered that many coins to any branch before, so Royal Bank wasn’t sure how they’d deliver them. 

“I don’t know how many boxes that would be,” said Royal Bank.  “And it’ll weigh a lot,” I replied, “I’ve done the math, it’ll need special delivery arrangements.”

“How much will it weigh?”

“Just over fifteen thousand pounds.”

That got a roaring laugh.  We were having a good call, she and I.

“Fifteen thousand pounds, eh?  And in metric…”

“Six-point-nine metric tons.”

Laughter.

At the outset, I’d promised the Royal Bank operator the most interesting call of her day.  “Oh no,” she said, “you’ve made my month!”

By the end of the call I knew I could get the coins, but on special arrangements of staged deliveries.  Step one, done.

Then I’d need to mix them all up.  No point in point-making if all the coins are already sorted, rolled and wrapped.  No, no, no.  We’d mix ‘em good.

I planned to use cubic yard bags, the kind you might’ve seen delivering gardening soil. They’re flat on the bottom, open on top, deliverable by forklift, and will each hold about a ton of soil, or coins. I’d need seven of these.

Delivery is the easiest bit.  A large flatbed truck is needed, preferably one with an enjoining forklift.  A drywall delivery truck, for instance, would work nicely.

Well, in the end, all of my maths were for naught.  We’re not paying; we’re appealing.

Still, there’s a side of me that wanted to pay this way, just to physically commentate on the sorry state of the legal system, that all this needlessness was deemed needed by courts not the least interested in law itself, nor the cause of justice.  That, and it’d feel good. 

To paraphrase David Mitchell, it’s the crooked courts, and they’re just sitting there.  I mean, we’ll kick ourselves!  And if you’re wondering, here’s the reference.

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For those interested in the maths, here’s the basis for calculation, for pennies, nickels, and dimes.  USD equivalents are here.  And yard bags are found here