Cases

2016

  • Horner et al v Paramsothy et al, [2016] ONSC 3624

    We successfully defended the plaintiffs' motion for partial summary judgement on the issue of liability.

    The plaintiff, John Horner, brought this action in connection with a head injury he sustained after falling on the concrete basement floor at a construction site. Our client’s insureds – the general contracting company and its principle – were named as defendants.

    Prior to the commencement of the civil action, the corporate defendant, Howell Inc. had been charged and plead guilty to an offence under section 77(2)(f) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), namely: failing to ensure that guardrails were installed on the open side of the second floor landing.  It was the plaintiffs’ position on the motion that the guilty plea and conviction under the OHSA were determinative of the defendants’ liability in the civil action.  They thus sought partial summary judgement affirming that the defendants negligently caused Mr. Horner’s injury, leaving only the issue of contributory negligence for the jury.  The plaintiffs further argued that the defendants were precluded from leading any evidence on the issue of liability and that to do so would constitute an abuse of process.      

    On behalf of the defendants, we argued that:

    • the plaintiffs failed to seek or obtain leave contrary Rule 48.04 (which requires leave to bring a motion after an action had been set down for trial), and as such, their motion was improperly constituted;
    • even if leave had been sought, it ought to be refused;
    • bifurcation of issues of liability and damages was not available for jury trials without consent.

    Most importantly, we took the position that there was no evidence before the court to support the relief sought.  At most, the OHSA guilty plea and conviction were evidence of the essential facts underlying the offence under section 77(2)(f) of the OHSA.  However, those facts on their own did not provide the court with sufficient evidence to make a determination on the question of liability, particularly in relation to the central issues of “causation” and the defendants’ “voluntary assumption of risk” defence . Thus, it could not be concluded that “but for” the lack of railings on the second floor landing, Mr. Horner would not have sustained his injuries.     

    After a thorough review of the jurisprudence on abuse of process, Justice Sutherland accepted our argument in this regard. Given that there remained conflicting evidence as to the cause of Mr. Horner’s fall, Sutherland J. was unable to determine liability on the available record, even with the use of the broader fact-finding powers available to him under Rule 20.04(2.1).  As he also emphasised, the determination of the wilful assumption of risk defence could not be made without the hearing of all available evidence at trial.  Likewise, the issue of contributory negligence required to be adjudicated at a trial by the jury.

    In sum, Sutherland J. rightly agreed with our submission that a summary judgement in this case did not give effect to the goals of timeliness, affordability and proportionality in view of the litigation as a whole. The motion for partial summary judgement was therefore dismissed.   

2015

  • Pershad v. Dontee Construction [2015] Oshawa 13-84420-D1 ONSCC

    At trial in Small Claims Court, we successfully defended the Defendant’s Claim against Dufferin Concrete arising out of work completed by the defendant contractor at the plaintiffs’ home.

    There was an oral contract between the plaintiff and the defendant for backyard renovations including installing a colored concrete walkway, BBQ pad and pergola pad.  The work completed by the defendant was not satisfactory to the plaintiffs for many reasons.  The defendant contractor claimed the incorrect concrete was provided to him by Dufferin and this was the reason for many of those problems.

    Deputy Justice Brown accepted our client’s evidence with respect to the company’s policy on advising customers as to the type of concrete that should be used but ultimately allowed the customer to choose what he or she would purchase.  On the facts and on the basis of our client’s “frankness and candour in the giving of his evidence,” the Court found that the contractor purchased the wrong concrete because it was less expensive.  Deputy Justice Brown correctly rejected the defendant contractor’s evidence outright in blaming Dufferin.  In relying on our witnesses’ evidence, Depute Justice Brown found that the contractor did not have sufficient workers to complete the work in the timeline required and as such the concrete effectively spoiled due to the contractor’s poor workmanship.  Accordingly, the defendant contractor’s claim against Dufferin was dismissed and the Court awarded costs in the amount of $2,500 to Dufferin.

  • Galan v. Finch (Finch's Heating) [2015] O.J. No. 2275

    See The Law Bulletin Vol. 7 - Subrogating Claims: Common Misconceptions Dispelled

  • Bennett v. J.K. (Jim) Moore Ltd. (c.o.b. Jim Moore Petroleum) [2015] O.J. No. 1568 (C.A.)

  • Bilic v. Toste [2015] O.J. No. 1088 (S.C.J.) Costs

2014

  • D'Angelo v. Attorney General of Canada et al. [2014] FC 1120

  • Whitehead v. Hampel (c.o.b. Hempel Contracting) [2014] O.J. No. ONSC 4908 (S.C.J.)

  • Monk v. Farmers’ and Muskoka Inc., [2014] ONSC 3940

    We brought a motion for summary judgment seeking a dismissal of an action brought by a homeowner seeking coverage for the cost of repairing property damage arising from her contractor’s negligence.  Our client took the position that the claim was excluded from coverage as it constituted the “cost of making good faulty workmanship”. 

    The insured argued that the property damage was in fact incidental or corollary damage resulting from the faulty workmanship (i.e. damage to windows, doors, fixtures and carpets caused by contractors retained to perform restoration of exterior logs at the home).  Since the damage was properly characterized as “resulting damage” according to this argument, it fell outside the scope of the exclusion.

    Following extensive argument, Justice Koke held that unlike some other homeowners’ policies, the “faulty workmanship exclusion” at issue was unqualified in that it did not specifically exempt resulting damage. As the exclusion did not contain such an exception, one could not be either read-in or inferred.  Justice Koke held that the entire claim flowed from the contractor’s faulty workmanship and therefore fell within the broad and unqualified scope of the exclusion.

    Justice Koke added that an all-perils property policy should not be interpreted as a de-facto performance bond or a liability policy for the work of contractors.  His view was further bolstered by the policy rationale behind the faulty workmanship exclusion, which is to discourage contractors from cutting corners by being careless and then passing the risk and the cost of that carelessness to the homeowners’ insurer.

    Justice Koke quite rightly also rejected the plaintiff’s argument that if the claim is excluded in one clause, it could not be covered in another. In this case, given that the “Property Excluded” clause excluded coverage on account of loss or damage to “property…while being worked on”, but not “the resulting damage to other insured property”, the plaintiff argued that her loss was covered by the  exception, notwithstanding the wording of the faulty workmanship clause.  In this regard, Justice Koke held that the clear and unambiguous terms of the faulty workmanship exclusion excluded all damages resulting from faulty workmanship without exception and that as a matter of law, “an exception to an exclusion cannot override the clear and unambiguous provisions of another general exclusion clause”.

    In the result, given that there were no factual issues in dispute and given Justice Koke’s finding that the claim was excluded, there was no issue requiring a trial.  Accordingly, the action against our client was dismissed in its entirety with costs.

  • Bennett v. J.K. (Jim) Moore Ltd. (c.o.b. Jim Moore Petroleum) et al., [2014] ONSC 2859 (S.C.J.)

    We successfully defended the plaintiff’s motion to add our client’s insureds, Mr. and Mrs. McComiskey, as defendants to an action arising out of an oil spill at a residential property.

    The plaintiff argued that her claim against the McComiskeys was “discovered” for the purposes of the Limitations Act, 2002 only after the examination for discovery of another defendant, whose evidence revealed (for the first time, according to the plaintiff), that the oil spill was caused by Mr. McComiskey’s modification of the fuel oil equipment prior to the sale of the property to the plaintiff.

    In a well-reasoned decision, Justice Wilcox accepted our argument that the plaintiff (or at least her subrogating insurer), was in possession of the facts necessary to commence an action against the McComiskeys within two-years following the spill. As the motion to add them was brought well beyond the two years following the discovery of the claim, the action was barred and our clients could not be added to the action.

    Justice Wilcox’s decision on the issue of limitations was largely fact-driven.   He correctly held the discovery of the claim was confirmed, inter alia, by the conversation between the plaintiff’s subrogating insurer and the claims representative for our client, which took place well before the expiry of the limitation period.  Justice Wilcox accepted our client’s affidavit evidence that, at the time of this conversation, the plaintiff and/or her insurer were aware: (i) that the McComiskeys had previously owned the property; (ii) that Mr. McComiskey conducted extensive renovations at the property; and (iii) that these renovations may have resulted in ruptured fuel lines which in turn may have led to the plaintiff’s loss.  Since this was the basis upon which she now wished to sue Mr. and Mrs. McComiskey, the plaintiff’s claim was out of time.  It was a crucial factor in Justice Wilcox’s decision that the plaintiff offered no alternative explanation for this conversation, and that our client was never cross-examined on her affidavit, indicating that her evidence was accepted by the plaintiff.

    Justice Wilcox also correctly held that even if the plaintiff did not have actual knowledge of the facts necessary to commence her claim, her efforts to discover her claim fell far short of “reasonable diligence” in the circumstances of this case.  In particular, the plaintiff failed to interview Mr. McComiskey, who lived next door to the plaintiff and made himself available to her at all material times.  Nor did the plaintiff attempt to contact the TSSA inspector identified in the engineer’s report commissioned by her own insurer.  Since this inspector conducted an inspection following an earlier spill at the property, Justice Wilcox found that it was highly likely that he could have provided the plaintiff with the same information as was later obtained in the course of the discoveries that, according to the plaintiff, allowed her to discover her claim.

    Finally, after a careful review of the relevant authorities, Justice Wilcox held that since this was not a case of a misnomer, leave to amend the Statement of Claim to substitute Mr. and Mrs. McComiskey as defendants should be refused.

    Accordingly, the plaintiff’s motion to add our client’s insureds as defendants to the action was dismissed with costs.

  • Simpson v. Gillies Court File [2014] O. J. No. SC13-1050 (S.C.J.)

    This subrogated action arose out of a motor vehicle accident occurring between the insured driver (i.e. the Plaintiff), and a cow belonging to the Defendant, which cow had escaped from confinement and wandered onto the roadway.  The Plaintiff tried his best to avoid the cow, but was unfortunately unable to stop in time and a collision ensued with the cow.  As a result of the accident, the Plaintiff suffered significant damage to his vehicle, which was deemed a total loss.  The Plaintiff’s insurer paid out a total of $8,022.62 to the Plaintiff for damages resulting out of the accident and sought to recover this amount in the subrogated action.  At trial in the Small Claims Court, it was held that the Defendant was wholly liable for the damages caused to the Plaintiff’s vehicle.  The Court found that the Defendant was negligent in that he had not met the standard of care required of keepers of cattle near a highway, given that his fences were shown to have been in a state of disrepair.  Furthermore, it was held that the insured driver did not contribute to the accident in any way.  Accordingly, the Court awarded judgement in favour of the Plaintiff in the amount sought.  In addition, the Court awarded $3,000.00 in costs to the Plaintiff. 

2013

  • Clarke v. Clarke [2013] ONSC 5352 (S.C.J.)

    This motion was decided years after the parties reached a settlement in the course of trial, based upon which settlement a consent Judgment was subsequently issued and entered.  For years, the parties remained unable to agree as to the manner in which to carry the consent Judgment into operation, requiring several appearances before the Court.  At our motion to carry the consent Judgment into operation, pursuant to Rule 59.06 of the Rules of Civil Procedure, it was agreed that the Court had jurisdiction to hear the motion and to make orders to carry the consent Judgment into operation.  This decision was based, in part, on the fact that the consent Judgment was silent on the manner in which the parties were to deal with, inter alia, the tax implications of certain orders set out in the consent Judgment, including silence on the manner in which to satisfy the triggering of capital gains taxes that would follow the ordered transfer of lands out of the corporation jointly held by the two litigants, to each of them.
     
    This motion, and the action as a whole, was further complicated by the context in which it arose, which includes that the two equal shareholders of the corporation that was at the crux of the above-mentioned motion were former spouses, whom had been embroiled in protracted litigation, be it divorce proceedings or to do with their corporate holdings, over the course of numerous years.
     
    In the result, we were successful in our efforts to have the presiding Judge find in our favour, both in terms of the arguments surrounding jurisdiction and the authority of the Court to make orders pursuant to Rule 59.06, as well as with respect to the proper interpretation to be given to the orders found within the original consent Judgment, upon which the parties had, until then, been unable to agree.

2012

  • Iannarella v. Corbett et al. [2012] ONSC 6536 (S.C.J.) Costs

    Justice Moore fixed costs following a four-week jury trial. The action arose out of a rear-end motor vehicle accident. The jury returned with a verdict absolving our client, the driver, of any liability. Although he was operating a concrete mixer that rear-ended the plaintiff’s vehicle, the jury found that in light of the prevailing weather condition, the accident was not caused by the defendant’s negligence or want of care. The action was dismissed in its entirety with costs.

    Prior to trial, our client had offered to settle the action for a monetary sum plus interest and costs. In light of the dismissal of the action, our client sought costs on a partial indemnity scale up to the date of that offer and on a substantial indemnity scale thereafter. The plaintiff argued that in light of his impecuniosity there should be no costs awarded or that costs should be fixed in a significantly reduced amount than that claimed.

    Justice Moore rejected the plaintiff’s argument and awarded costs fixed in excess of $254,000.

    Justice Moore acknowledged that in some cases impecuniosity could be considered when fixing costs but held that such impecuniosity must be proven with robust particularity by tendering a complete and accurate disclosure of the plaintiff’s income, assets, expenses, liability and ability to pay. Impecuniosity cannot, as a matter of course, be used as shield to avoid a cost award. The plaintiff failed to meet the high evidentiary threshold and Justice Moore properly held the plaintiff’s alleged impecuniosity would not be a factor in fixing costs.

    The decision is also illustrative of the costs consequences of a plaintiff‘s rejecting a defendant’s offer to settle where his action is subsequently dismissed.

    The Court of Appeal’s Decision in Strasser Limited v. Richmond Hill (Town) [1990] O.J. No. 2321 (C.A.) has long been held to stand for the proposition that where a plaintiff rejects a defendant’s offer to settle and his action is subsequently dismissed, the defendant is entitled to costs on a substantial indemnity scale following the date of that offer. Lower Courts have recently been more reluctant to follow Strasser unless there is evidence the plaintiff’s conduct was deserving of sanction.

    Justice Moore followed Strasser and held that costs on a substantial indemnity scale were warranted as the defendant’s offer was more than reasonable and gave the plaintiff the opportunity to settle the action and avoid the trial. As for the plaintiff’s conduct, Justice Moore described him as lacking credibility in giving his evidence at the trial and to his experts prior to the trial. Justice Moore described the deficiencies in the plaintiff’s case as plentiful, glaring and substantial. In these circumstances, the plaintiff’s decision to force the defendant to the costs of a trial was sufficient to support an award of costs on a substantial indemnity scale. In refusing to significantly reduce the amount of costs claimed, Justice Moore stated that the following:

    “Mr. Iannarella‘s testimony was suspect and cried out for close scrutiny throughout the trial and the preparation for trial in this matter. The defendants enjoyed the success they did at trial is a testament to the hard work necessarily undertaken by counsel. Mr. Iannarella should reasonably have expected nothing less”

    Justice Moore’s decision is a fresh reminder that in the context of a personal injury action the plaintiff cannot rely on impecuniosity to avoid the costs consequences that follow a dismissal of an action. Additionally where the action is based on plaintiff’s unfounded or exaggerated claims of injury and resulting disability forcing the defendant to incur great expense to defend the costs may ultimately be fixed on a substantial indemnity scale.

  • CEJ Poultry Inc. v. Intact Insurance Co.[2012] O.J. No. 3005 (S.C.J.)

    Our client was successful in responding to a motion for summary judgment by the defending insurer seeking to dismiss its recovery action against the judgment creditor’s insurer brought pursuant to s.132 of the Insurance Act. The liability insurer denied coverage to the defendant on the basis she was not member of the household of the named insured and therefore not entitled to a defence or indemnity in response to the action against her. The insurer moved for summary judgment. Following the dismissal of the motion our client sought costs fixed on a substantial indemnity scale on the basis that in the face of the recent Court of Appeal decision in Combined Air Mechanical Services Inc. v. Flesch and the conflicting versions of the events needed to decide the coverage issue the motion ought not have been brought. The motion judge agreed holding that in light of the evidence lead it was unreasonable for the liability insurer to bring the motion warranting costs of the motion be fixed on a substantial scale.

  • Darch Estate v. Farmers' Mutual Insurance Co. [2012] O.J. No. 3006 (S.C.J.)

    We successfully defended a property insurer in a claim brought by its insured arising from a fire intentionally set by an occupant of the premises who was later declared not criminally responsible for the arson. The insurer denied the claim arguing that regardless of the unnamed insured’s psychological condition or the declaration of NCR as he intended to set fire the claim fell within the intentional act exclusion. After the action was dismissed, the insurer sought costs. The plaintiff insured argued that there should be no costs as they were not involved in the arson. The trial judge disagreed and after applying the relevant factors fixed costs in the amount of $122,000.

  • Kawartha Lakes v. Ontario [2012] O.J. No. 2378. (Div. Ct.)

    Our clients, homeowners, were brought into a dispute between MOE and the City of Kawartha Lakes arising from the cost of remediating oil contamination on municipal property which originated from his premises. The Municipality appealed the MOE’s order that it remediate the contamination on municipal lands arguing that ordering an innocent party to remediate violated the “polluter pays” principle. For the homeowners, we argued the statutory framework of the EPA under which the order was made, imposed strict liability on land owners to remediation contamination regardless of its origin including a neighbouring property and that homeowner alleged involvement in causing the contamination the municipal lands was therefore irrelevant. In addition, any finding on the homeowner’s involvement could impact the insurer’s subrogated action brought against the fuel oil supplier. The ERT agreed and in a comprehensive review of the legislative history of the EPA held that any evidence relating to “fault” or the involvement of the owner in causing the spill on the municipal property was irrelevant. The Divisional Court agreed to hear the Municipality’s appeal on the basis the issues raised were of significant public importance. It ultimately agreed with our clients’ position that the recent evolution of policy and jurisprudence precluded the ERT from consider “fault” and consequently the principle of “polluters pays” did not apply. The ruling affects the potential liability of property owners under the EPA to cover the costs of remediating environmental spills and losses originating from their property. In light of the impact of the ruling on the handling of environmental losses under the EPA leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal has been granted and the appeal will be heard sometime in the fall 2013.

  • Iannarella v. Corbett et al. [2012] ONSC 2253 (S.C.J.)

    We secured a dismissal of an action against their client following a 4-week jury trial. The case involved a rear-end collision whereby the firm’s client, the defendant, was operating a concrete mixer that rear-ended the plaintiff’s vehicle. The plaintiff brought an action alleging that he had sustained various personal injuries including a torn rotator cuff and chronic pain. We sought general damages for pain and suffering as well as damages for loss of income and care costs. The threshold motion was granted. Although Justice Moore accepted the rotator cuff injury and the surgeries resulted from the accident he did not accept the plaintiff’s evidence of resulting functional limitations in part due to the fact that his evidence was contradicted by other witnesses’ evidence and video surveillance.

    The jury returned with a verdict absolving the client of any liability. Although he was operating a concrete mixer that rear-ended the plaintiff’s vehicle, the jury held that in light of the prevailing weather conditions the accident was not caused by the defendant’s negligence. The action, including the award for loss of income, was dismissed in its entirety with costs.

  • CEJ Poultry Inc. v. Intact Insurance Co., [2012] O.J. No. 235 (S.C.J.)

    We successfully defended a motion for summary judgment brought by a defending insurer in his client’s recovery action. Our client had secured judgment in a subrogated action. The defendant’s insurer denied coverage on the basis that the defendant was not an “insured” under its policy. It maintained its denial of coverage after judgment was secured. As a result, our client commenced an action under s. 132 of the Insurance Act seeking recovery of its unpaid judgment. The defending insurer brought a motion for summary judgment seeking a dismissal of the claim against it. The motion was one of the first motions argued after the release of the Court of Appeal’s landmark decision in Combined Air Mechanical Services Inc. v. Flesch, [2011] O.J. No. 5431 (ONCA.). Applying the full appreciation test set out in Combined Air Mechanical Services Inc. v. Flesch, [2011] O.J. No. 5431 (ONCA.) the Justice Lack correctly held she could not have a full and accurate appreciation of the evidence needed to make the required dispositive findings and therefore summary judgment could not be granted.

2011

  • Holder v. Wiazowski [2011] O.J. No 4152 (S.C.J.)

    We represented a proposed defendant on a motion seeking to add her to an existing action under the guise that the amendment was to correct a misnomer. Although the plaintiff had alleged the involvement of a woman and referred to a woman as Jane Doe in the pleading, the Court agreed with our client that there was insufficient reference to her in the pleading to render the use of Jane Doe was one of misnomer. The limitation period to commence the action against our client had clearly expired and therefore the motion to add her as a defendant was dismissed with costs.

  • Darch Estate v. Farmers' Mutual Insurance, [2011] O.J. No. 2971 (S.C.J.)

    We successfully defended a property insurer in this coverage action arguing the applicability of the Intentional Act Exclusion of the policy. The claim arose from the fire that was set by an adult member of the insureds’ household. Although the perpetrator was declared not criminally responsible for the arson in light of a mental disorder the trial judge agreed with the insurer that as he was an insured under the policy and that he knew the physical consequences of his action he intended to set the fire as contemplated by the exclusion regardless of his mental disorder or the criminal courts’ finding that he was not criminally responsible for the arson.

  • Wilkinson v. Braithwaite, [2011] O.J. No. 17 (S.C.J.)

    We defended a motion seeking to add an underinsured carrier to an existing action arguing that the limitation period to commence the action had long expired. We argued the plaintiff was seeking to add a defendant after the expiry of the limitation period under the guise the amendment to the pleadings was to correct a misnomer. The motion judge agreed and dismissed the motion.

  • Boyd v. Cooper, [2011] O.J. No. 1893

2010

  • Carleton v. Beaverton Hotel, [2010] O.J. No. 4769 (S.C.J.) 

  • Sethi v. Armstrong, [2010] O.J. No. 5425 (S.C.J.)

    We successfully defended a motion to strike a Jury Notice on the basis that the personal injury action was too complex. After reviewing the leading authorities including Hunt v. Sutton, the motion judge held that there was insufficient basis for him to deny the defendant his fundamental right to have his case heard by a jury and in any event held the issue of complexity ought to be left to the trial judge.

  • Mark v. Bhangari, [2010] O.J. No. 3608 (S.C.J.) (Costs)

  • Mark v. Bhangari, [2010] O.J. No. 3014 (S.C.J.)

    We brought a motion for summary judgment seeking a dismissal of an action brought against his client under the Occupiers’ Liability Act. The motion judge agreed there was no evidence our client was in control of the premises where the incident occurred and therefore no genuine issue requiring a trial. The motion for summary judgment was granted and the action dismissed.

  • Blinn v. Burlington (City), [2010] O.J. No. 3063 (S.C.J.)

    We defended a motion seeking to add our clients to an action on the basis that the limitation period to commence a claim for contribution and indemnity had expired. The applications judge applied Sections 18 and 21 of the Limitations Act and held there was insufficient evidence that the moving party had acted with due diligence within the limitation period to discover the claim and therefore on the record the action was barred and our clients could not to be added to the action.

  • Ouderkirk v. Clarry, [2010] O.J. No. 2223 (C.A.) 

    The Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal seeking to set aside a jury’s verdict holding that our client, the occupier of the premises, was not liable. The issue was whether the occupier should be held liable for the injuries caused to the plaintiff after falling off a deck without a railing. The jury found that notwithstanding the lack of railing, as the plaintiff was warned about the lack of railing and was fully aware of its absence she was author of her own misfortune. The Court of Appeal upheld the jury’s verdict holding that that there was sufficient evidence to support it

  • Carleton v. Beaverton Hotel, [2010] O.J. No. 520 (S.C.J.)

    The trial judge declared a mistrial as a result of opposing counsel’s conduct throughout the trial. In lengthy reasons the trial judge held that the cumulative effects of the attacks against counsel in the presence of the jury and the allegation of dishonesty and the tampering of evidence fully justified a mistrial. Costs thrown away were fixed.

  • Laudon v. Roberts, [2010] O.J. No. 315 (S.C.J.)

    The trial judge awarded our client costs in the amount of $760,000 after the Court of Appeal set aside the trial judgment and ordered costs of the action to the defendant. Costs were fixed on substantial indemnity scale as the defendant had bettered his offer to settle. The court also held a portion of those costs be paid by OHIP pursuant to the Health Insurance Act.

2009

  • Cirillo v. Wawanesa Mutual Insurance [2009] O.J. No. 5367 (S.C.J.) 

  • Carleton v. Beaverton Hotel, [2009] O.J. No. 5325 (S.C.J.) 

    We successfully moved for mistrial following the inflammatory nature of plaintiff’s counsel’s opening jury address. The trial judge held the opening was so replete with inflammatory language that even at the early stage the defendant would be denied fair trial.

  • Pinder v. Farmers' Mutual Insurance Co. (Lindsay), [2009] O.J. No. 4964 (C.A.)

    We acted for the insurer in this appeal relating to the insurer’s right to subrogate after paying under a Standard Mortgage Clause. The Court of Appeal acknowledged the issue had not been touched in over 120 years. In the end, it held that the insurer has a right to subrogate provided that it has paid the mortgagee and that it was not liable to the insured. If there was an issue of coverage outstanding, the insurer could not seek recovery prior to the determination of that issue.

  • Kawartha Lakes (City) v. Ontario (Ministry of the Environment), [2009] O.E.R.T.D. No. 69

    Our clients, homeowners, were brought into a dispute between MOE and the City of Kawartha Lakes over the cost of remediating oil contamination on municipal property. The MOE had ordered City of Kawartha Lakes to immediately remediate the oil contamination found on its property. The City alleged the homeowners caused the spill and had them added to its appeal of the MOE’s order to the Environmental Review Tribunal. We moved to have the scope of the appeal exclude any involvement of his clients, the homeowners. The ERT agreed and in doing so arguably reconsidered what was considered a well-settled law in the area of environment protection.

  • Cirillo v. Wawanesa Mutual Insurance, [2009] O.J. No. 4377 (S.C.J.) 

  • TGA General Contracting and Restoration Inc. v. Cirillo [2009] O.J. No. 5367, (S.C.J.)

    We successfully defended an insurer on a first party building loss claim involving the interpretation of a Replacement Cost Endorsement and the Guarantee Replacement Cost Endorsement of a homeowners’ policy. The trial judge held that the policy did not cover whatever costs the insured was charged by his contractor, but rather was limited the lowest amount it would costs to effect the repairs. He held the insurer had already paid more than that amount and the insured was not entitled to any more.

  • Ladouceur v. Zimmerman, [2009] O.J. No. 4777 (S.C.J.)

  • Hamilton v. Home Depot of Canada, [2009] O.J. No. 2786 (S.C.J.)

    We acted for Home Depot in action brought by one of its customers. The matter proceeded through several days of trial. On what was expected to be the last of trial, the plaintiff discharged his counsel and chose to act for himself. He then advised the trial judge that he made a complaint to the judicial council about his bias in the conduct of the trial. As a result, on his own initiative, the trial judge declared a mistrial. He awarded significant costs thrown away which the plaintiffs failed to pay resulting in the dismissal of the action with costs.

  • Carleton_et_al._v._Beaverton_Hotel_et_al._[2009] 96 O.R. (3d) 391 (Div Ct)

  • Laudon v. Roberts, [2009] O.J. No. 1824 (C.A.)

    Our client appealed the trial judge decision to refuse to deduct an amount the plaintiff had received in damages from the co-defendant before entering judgment against him. The Court of Appeal allowed the appeal holding that any amount the plaintiff received from a joint tortfeasor must be deducted from the assessment of damages and before judgment is entered against the second tortfeasor as failing to do so would allow the plaintiff to double recover. As the jury’s award was less than what the plaintiff had already received from the co-defendant, deducting the amount received reduced the judgment to zero and for the first time in Canada resulted in the dismissal of the action against a liable tortfeasor. Laudon v. Roberts has since been described on of the leading authorities on the issue of double recovery in the context of partial settlement agreements such as Mary Carter agreements.

  • Mohamed v. Banville ]2009] O.J. No. 712 (S.C.J.)

    We brought a motion for summary judgment seeking a dismissal of a subrogating action brought against his client arising from a fire that damaged several residential dwellings. The subrogating insurer alleged that our client’s careless smoking caused the fire. We brought a motion for the summary judgment seeking a dismissal of the action on the basis that there was no evidence to support the allegation and therefore no genuine issue requiring a trial. The plaintiff argued that having eliminated all other potential source of ignition the Court could infer the fire was caused by the defendant’s smoking. Although a habitual smoker, the defendant denied having any cigarettes that evening. The motion judge granted summary judgment. In a detailed review of the authorities the motion judge held that without evidence that the defendant was in fact smoking and acted carelessly he could not be held liable. The motion judge also held that without evidence of cause, the action was barred by Section 76 of the Fire Protection and Prevention Act. .

  • Boyd v. Cooper, [2009] O.N.W.S.I.A.T. No. 266

    We brought an application seeking a dismissal of an action on the basis that plaintiffs’ action was barred pursuant to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act. After a 3-day hearing the Tribunal granted the application. In a detailed judgment it found that the evidence supported the fact the plaintiff was an employee of the defendant regardless of the parties’ characterization to the contrary. Although the insurer was not entitled to costs as costs are not awardable in these proceedings, the insurer’s decision to be added as interested party, then bringing the application were described as reasonable and understandable in the protection of its interest.

  • CEJ Poultry Inc. v. Calderone, [2009] O.J. No. 5968 (S.C.J.)

    We successfully brought a motion for summary judgment securing judgment in a subrogated action arising out of a fire loss. The fire was caused by a visitor to the house who left the burning pot on a stove without ensuring the element had been turned off. This resulted in a fire. The defendant admitted seeing the pot on the stove but believed she had turned off the element before leaving the room. The motion judge held that in light of her admissions there was no issue requiring trial as to her liability. He granted judgment accordingly.

2008

2007

  • Carleton v. Beaverton [2007] O.J. No. 5020 (S.C.J.)

    We successfully defended a motion to strike our client’s jury notice on the basis that it was served outside the time prescribed by the Rule 47 and that in any event this personal injury action ought not to be decided by a jury. The plaintiffs had initially brought suit against a municipality along with our client, an occupier of the premises. The municipality was eventually released from the action. Following its release we served and filed a Jury Notice on behalf of our client. The plaintiffs argued it was served out of time notwithstanding the fact the naming of the municipality precluded filing of a notice. The motion judge held Court has discretion to allow a jury notice to be filed outside of the time prescribed and agreed with our client that it acted reasonably in filing a Jury Notice as soon as the municipality was released from the action. He added that there was no evidence of any prejudice and that issue ought to be dealt with by the trial judge in any event. The motion was dismissed with costs.

  • Labancz v. Reeves [2007] O.J. No. 4848 (S.C.J.)

  • Browne v. Richmond Hill (Town) [2007] O.J. No. 3233 (C.A.) 

    We brought a motion for summary judgment seeking a dismissal of the action brought against his client Dufferin Construction. The action arose from a single vehicle accident in a construction zone on road had been closed due to ongoing construction activities. Dufferin argued the plaintiff willingly assumed the risk of travelling on a closed road. The motion judge agreed and granted the motion dismissing the action with costs. The Court of Appeal upheld the decision.

  • Hiebert v. Lennox Canada [2007] O.J. No. 3079 (S.C.J.) 

    We successfully moved for summary judgment securing a dismissal of the claim brought against his client. In this claim arising out of an oil spill it was alleged that our client was negligent in distributing the fuel oil and failing to ensure that the tank of the premises was fit for use. Our client disputed the claim arguing that it had sold its interest in the corporate entities prior to the incident in question. The motion judge held that as there was no evidence to support the claim against our client the motion for summary judgment was granted.

  • Watson v. Steed and Evans Ltd., [2007] O.J. No. 2607 (S.C.J.) 

    In this professional liability claim we successfully defended a motion for summary judgment brought against our client seeking a dismissal of his client’s claim. The motion judge held that as there was evidence of a failure in the construction and/or design of the highway and the contract stipulated that the moving party geotechnical engineering firm was ultimately responsible for the quality control there were genuine issues requiring a trial and the motion was therefore dismissed.

  • Laudon v. Roberts [2007] O.J. No. 1703 (S.C.J.)

    The Court refused to grant the plaintiff’s motion to strike a jury following an exchange during our cross-examination of a witness where witness inadvertently made reference to the plaintiff’s criminal history including references to arm robbery. Although the trial judge agreed these comments were prejudicial he felt the prejudice was abated by his strong direction that the jury disregard the comments. In the end, the trial judge held our client ought not to lose his fundamental right to a jury on the basis of inadvertent comments made by witness.

  • Laudon v. Roberts [2007] O.J. No. 1702 (S.C.J.)

  • Laudon v. [1]. Roberts, [2007] O.J. No. 1414 (S.C.J.)  

    The trial judge ruled the plaintiffs proposed expert evidence was inadmissible on the basis that it did not meet the requirements set out by the Supreme Court in R. v. Mohan and more specifically that the issue opined upon by the engineer was a matter of common sense. The trial judge also agreed with our client’s position that although the expert was not an advocate, the contents of his reports suggests his evidence was not being adduced to assist the trier of fact but rather to bolster the plaintiff’s legal argument as to how the jury should decide liability.

  • Laudon v. Roberts [2007] O.J. No. 1283 (S.C.J.)  

    The Court granted our client’s motion for a mistrial after counsel inadvertently disclosed the amount received under a Mary Carter Agreement in open court. He also granted costs for preparation and attendance at trial.

  • Tupper v. Van Rooy [2007] O.J. No. 610 (S.C.J.)

  • Tupper v. Van Rooy [2007] O.J. No. 315 (S.C.J.) 

    We successfully defended his client in a motion brought by the plaintiff seeking to set aside a previous order on the basis of fraud. The plaintiff alleged that our client had sworn a false affidavit and argued that pursuant to Rule 59.06(2) the order ought to be set aside. The court accepted our client’s argument that for there to be fraud the moving party must establish that there was a false affidavit made knowingly; without honest belief in its truth or with reckless indifference to the truth. The Court agreed the affidavit was not false and that the plaintiff was merely looking to reargue the previous motion under the guise that the affidavit in support of that motion was fraudulent. In light of the unfounded and unproven allegations of fraud, the Court granted our client costs on a substantially indemnity scale.

2005

  • Oudeerkirk v. Clarry [2005] O.J. No. 5031 (S.C.J.) 

    We were forced to bring a motion to adjourn at trial after we learned the plaintiff had still not served all relevant documents. The motion was opposed and after a significant argument, Justice Sachs agreed and held it the rules required the plaintiff list all relevant documents in her Affidavit of Documents, to comply with her undertakings and correct answers that were incorrect at her discovery. Moreover and most importantly, Justice Sachs held proceeding with the trial without all the records would require the jury to make findings of fact in the absence of significant information which was not in the interest of justice.

  • Cossette v. Gojit (Brampton) Inc. [2005] O.J. No. 6098 (S.C.J.)

  • Keeble v. Couperthwaite Estate [2005] O.J. No. 6099 (S.C.J.) 

    We successfully brought a motion for summary judgment and seeking a dismissal of an action on the basis that there was no triable issue regarding liability of our client. The plaintiff brought an action against several farmers in the area where the plaintiff was injured in a motor vehicle accident. The plaintiff alleged that the accident was caused by a cow which had escape from one of the farmers’ properties. The cow had not been identified and there was no evidence linking the cow to any of our client's. The Court agreed with our clients’ submission that without evidence establishing that the cow involved did in fact escape from the defendants’ farms, the defendants could not be held liable. The motion for summary judgment was therefore granted and the action dismissed with costs.

  • Cossette v. Gojit (Brampton) Inc. [2005] O.J. No. 3513 (S.C.J.)

    We brought a motion seeking an order dismissing the plaintiff’s pecuniary claim on the basis that she had failed to comply with several court to provide records and attend discovery to be examined on that claim. Master Dash agreed that the plaintiffs breaches had become contumelious and warranted the draconian remedy of a portion of the claim being struck.

  • Enescu v. Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Co. [2005], O.J. No. 3058 (S.C.J.) / 4836 (Div. Crt)

    We defended an insurer in a claim for stolen stock brought by the insured. The insurer denied the claim on the basis that there was insufficient evidence that the theft occurred and that the insured had made false statement in submitting the claim. After the alleged theft, the insured made a proposal to its creditors under Bankruptcy Insolvency Act which provided that any recovery against the our client would be distributed between creditors.   Relying on the terms of the proposal, our client moved for security for costs arguing that the action was being asserted for the creditors. Justice Stewart adopted the reasoning in Design 19 Construction Limited v. Marks [2002] O.J. 1091 holding that creditors cannot hide behind impecunious plaintiffs and that if they intended to reap the reward of litigation they should also bear the burden of the cost consequences in the event the action should fail.  The plaintiff motion for leave to appeal that order was dismissed.

  • Boyd v. Cooper [2005] O.J. No. 1415 (S.C.J.) 

    We successfully defended a motion seeking leave to appeal a judge’s decision granting our insurance client standing in an action as an interesting party pursuant to Rule 13. The insurer had denied coverage to its insured on the basis that the claim brought against it fell within an exclusion of the policy. Our client sought to be added as an interested party after the insured refused to plead a statutory bar defence. Justice Salmers granted the motion adding the insurer. Justice Howden agreed that the insurer was in fact an interested party and that Justice Salmers was correct in granting the relief.

2004

  • Goodliff v. Woodcock [2004] O.J. No. 4701 (S.C.J.) 

    We successfully defended an action brought by his clients’ tenants following a fire. The tenants alleged that the landlord was liable for failing to properly maintain the electrical service of the premises. The trial judge dismissed the action holding there was insufficient evidence to establish the cause of the fire and therefore, pursuant to section 76 of the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, our client could not be held liable for the fire.  

  • Gardner v. DeBruijn et al, Endorsement, September 29, 2004 (S.C.J.) 

    Although a judgment was awarded against our client, we were nonetheless awarded our costs on the basis that the damages awarded fell within the Simplified Rules and the plaintiff ought to have accepted the offer to settle.  

  • Pennefather v. Pike Estate [2004] O.J. No. 3754 (S.C.J.)    

    In its decision on costs, the trial judge awarded our subrogating insurer costs on a partial indemnity scale up to the date of the offer and a substantial indemnity scale thereafter. He relied on Rule 49.13 to consider an offer that was withdrawn prior to the trial holding that the defendant had the opportunity to settle for substantially less than it was ordered to pay at trial and costs consequences should follow. He added that costs on a substantial indemnity scale were warranted as the defendant had made a strategic decision to put the subrogating insurer to the task of proceeding to trial in the hopes that insureds, the family of the deceased defendant, would refuse to give evidence at trial.

  • Gardner v. DeBruijn et al, Reasons for Judgment, June 16, 2004 (S.C.J.)

  • Bois v. Ron's Burner Services Ltd. [2004] O.J. No. 5788

    We represented an insurer in a subrogated action seeking recovery of payments made to its insured as a result of a fire which destroyed substantial portion of his residence and his workshop. The subrogating insurer alleged the fire was caused by the furnace technician’s failure to properly inspect and clean the furnace of the premises. The trial judge agreed accepting the expert evidence in this regard and granted judgment accordingly. The trial judge rejected the defendant’s allegation of spoliation notwithstanding the fact the furnace was not available to the defendant for inspection.

  • Pennefather v. Pike Estate [2004] O.J. No. 271 (S.C.J.) 

    We represented an insurer in a subrogated action seeking recovery of payment made to its insured homeowners following a fire. Our client alleged the fire was caused by the insured’s visiting adult daughter’s careless use of a stove. The trial was complicated by sudden and unrelated death of defendant before the action was commenced and the lack of any witnesses to the incident. The trial judge admitted the statements the defendant made to the police and the investigating adjuster preferring that version over the version she gave to her liability insurer after being put on the notice of the claim. The trial judge rejected the defendant’s insurer’s argument that the claim for the repair to the building ought to be reduced for betterment.

2003

  • Quibell v. 1096555 Ontario Inc. (c.o.b. Bingo Bingo) [2003] O.J. No. 4673 (S.C.J.) 

    We successfully defended a bingo hall in claim brought by a customer who slipped and fell in on the front walkway and alleged the hall was liable pursuant to the Occupiers’ Liability Act.  The trial judge applied the settled law that occupiers are not insurers and that they are only required to take reasonable steps to ensure the individuals on their premises are reasonable safe.  He held that although the winter maintenance system was not reduced to writing and a log was not kept, as he accepted the evidence of the staff members that they were monitoring the conditions that evening and had salting the area the hall could not be held liable. The decision stands for the proposition that an occupier may still meet its burden under the Act to have a system of inspection and maintenance notwithstanding the fact that such system is not reduced to writing or the maintenance activities kept in a log.

2002

  • D'Amico v. Galati Supermarkets (Finch) Limited [2002] O.J. No. 4465 (S.C.J.) 

    We successfully defended a grocery store chain in a claim brought by a customer who had slipped and fell and alleged the store was liable pursuant to the Occupiers’ Liability Act. The Court held that although it was conceded that the fall occurred, as there was a reasonable system of inspection at the time, the store could not be held liable. The action was therefore dismissed with costs.   

  • Tilker v. Canada Life Casualty Insurance Corp. [2002] O.J. No. 2873 (S.C.J.) 

  • Tilker v. Canada Life Casualty Insurance Co. [2002] O.J. No. 2309 (S.C.J.) 

    We defended an insurer against a fraudulent claim brought by its insured alleging the theft of a motorcycle. The trial applied Shakur v Pilot Insurance Co. 76.D.L.R (4337) (Ont C.A.) and held that the onus remained on the insured to prove the peril had in fact occurred regardless of the insurer’s other defences. In this case, the insured had to prove that the theft occurred. The Court held the insured had not proven that the theft occurred and therefore he could not recover under the policy.  The Court further held the insured made willfully false statements in submitting his claim vitiating his right to recover pursuant to Section 233 (1) (ii) of the Insurance Act.  The Court granted our client costs on a substantial indemnity scale in part, due to the insured’s unfounded claims of punitive damages.

  • Cooper v. Farmers' Mutual Insurance Co., [2002] O.J. No. 1949 (C.A.)

    We acted for an insurer responding to an application by its insured seeking a defence to a claim brought by his employee.  The insurer denied coverage on the basis that the policy excluded coverage for personal injury to an employee.  In response to the denial of coverage the defendant/insured and the plaintiff agreed that the action would be discontinued and new action removing the references to the plaintiff as an employee of the insured be issued.  The insurer maintained its denial relying on the extrinsic evidence such as statements, cheques, timesheet, resumes and letters of offer of employment to argue the pleadings does not alter the fact the plaintiff was an employee and therefore there was no coverage. It argued that substituting the pleadings was essentially “crafty pleadings” and could not trigger a duty to defend The Court of Appeal held the insurer’s duty to defend was to be determined by the allegations in the last action regardless of the initial action and regardless of any extrinsic evidence that may support the contrary.  This decision has been referred to extensively and clarified the law as the use of extrinsic evidence on duty to defend applications.

  • Luco v. Beveridge [2002] O.J. No. 937 (S.C.J.)

2001

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