Teglas v. City of Brantford et al, 2020 ONSC 7408

The plaintiff was injured in an assault by two unidentified assailants in the stairwell of a municipal parking garage. The City and the security company argued that they were not liable to the plaintiff for his injuries. Justice Turnbull held that the City and the security company were not liable. He held that the City and security company had a duty of care to the plaintiff, and that both breached the standard of care (there was evidence that police had to be called to the parking garage on almost a weekly basis). However, he concluded that the breaches by the City and the security company were not the cause of the plaintiff’s loss. The assault occurred in such a tight time frame that even if all proper steps to fulfill the duties of care, the assault would not have been prevented. There was no evidence that security guards could have responded in time even if security cameras were present in the stairwell.

1688782 Ontario Inc. v. Maple Leaf Foods Inc., 2020 SCC 35

The plaintiffs in this class action are Mr. Sub franchisees. At the material time they were bound through a chain of indirect contracts to purchase meat product exclusively from the defendant Maple Leaf Foods (although there was no contractual privity between Maple Leaf and the franchisees). After a recall of Maple Leaf meat products due to listeria, the plaintiffs sued Maple Leaf Foods for economic loss and reputational injury. Maple Leaf brought an unsuccessful motion for summary judgment dismissing the action. The motion judge held that Maple Leaf owed the franchisees a duty to supply a product fit for human consumption and that the contaminated products posed a real and substantial danger, which grounded a duty of care. The Court of Appeal allowed Maple Leaf’s appeal, and found that the motion judge’s decision to allow the claim to proceed could not stand in light of the SCC’s 2017 decision in Deloitte & Touche v Livent Inc. (which was decided following the disposition of the motion for summary judgment). The SCC upheld the Court of Appeal’s decision, holding that Maple Leaf did not owe a duty of care to the franchisees. It reasoned that while common law readily imposes liability for negligent interference with and injury to bodily integrity, mental health, and property, there is no general right in tort protecting against the negligent or intentional infliction of pure economic loss. The SCC applied the Anns/Cooper analysis for duty of care. After confirming that proximity remains the controlling concept, it found that proximity could not be established in this case by reference to a recognized category, nor by conducting a full proximity analysis. As such, no duty of care could be established.

Webster v. Inneractive Security Services Inc., 2020 ONSC 6957

The plaintiff attended a heavy metal concert and shortly after the music started, he was found lying on the ground severely injured and surrounded by a crowd of people. The incident resulted in his quadriplegia. He sued multiple defendants, including the relevant venue and security company, for alleged negligence, occupiers’ liability, and breach of the Ontario Liquor License Act. The defendants brought a motion for summary judgment to have the claim dismissed. The defendants argued that the plaintiff could not prove what act or omission on their part had caused the injury, and had not put forward any credible theory as to who or what caused the injury. Justice Skarica granted the defendants’ motion and dismissed the action. He found that the plaintiff had not provided a sufficient factual basis to establish that the harm was a reasonably foreseeable consequence of the defendants’ conduct. He held that the defendants had acted reasonably in the circumstances, which was all that was required. With respect to the plaintiff’s allegations against the security guards, Justice Skarica noted that there was no evidence that any of these alleged defects contributed to the plaintiff’s injuries. He added that there was no medical evidence indicating that the security guards injured the plaintiff by moving him after his fall.