Snowball v. Ornge, 2017 ONSC 4601

The Plaintiffs were family members of an individual who was killed in the crash of an Ornge helicopter. The action was initiated under s. 61 of the Family Law Act, R.S.O. 1990, c.F.3, and included claims for mental distress resulting from the negligently caused death of the crash victim. Ornge brought a motion to strike the claims for mental distress, arguing that the only compensible claims were those for compensation for loss of guidance, care, and companionship. Justice Faieta accepted the Plaintiffs’ argument that the case law supported the possiblity of a family member being entitled to compensation in tort for mental anguish suffered as a result of the loss of a loved one and dismissed Ornge’s motion.

Saadati v. Moorhead, 2017 SCC 28

In this case, the trial judge found that the Plaintiff sustained psychological injuries, including personality changes and cognitive difficulties, based on the testimony of the Plaintiff’s friends and family. The British Columbia Court of Appeal allowed the appeal on the basis that the Plaintiff had not demonstrated by expert evidence a medically recognized psychiatric or psychological injury. The Supreme Court of Canada overturned the decision of the Court of Appeal. The Supreme Court found that to establish mental injury, the Plaintiff must show that the disturbance was serious and prolonged and rose above the ordinary annoyances, anxieties, and fears that come with living in civil society. While expert evidence could assist in determining whether a mental injury had been shown, it remained open to a trier of fact to find on other evidence, including the testimony of family and friends, that the Plaintiff had proven on a balance of probabilities the occurrence of a mental injury.