Doctor stuck with $70,537 legal bill after losing battle over $31 parking ticket

From The National Post:

In what might go down as the country’s most expensive parking ticket, a Toronto doctor who lost her epic battle over a $31 fine by launching a class-action lawsuit on behalf of aggrieved motorists has been ordered to also pay the city’s $70,537 legal bill.

Dr. Anna Marie Arenson, a radiologist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, insists a defect during inclement weather in the city’s pay-and-display parking machines is responsible for her apparent infraction in 2007.

But after an Ontario court judge finally dismissed her bid for a lawsuit to be certified as a class action — after arguments that went all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada — she has now been told she must cover the municipality’s legal bills from defending against her case.

“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,” said Justice Paul Perell of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in his ruling.

“It’s horrendous,” said lawyer Ken Arenson, Dr. Arenson’s former husband who has represented her throughout the lengthy case.

“It was shocking to us and really casts into doubt whether the class-action system works in public interest litigation.”

Both the certification dismissal and the cost rulings will be appealed, said Mr. Arenson.

“We never went into this thing for the money,” he said, noting Dr. Arenson’s loss was only a few dollars put into two parking meters and $31 for the fine, which was paid.

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