Williams v. Richard, 2018 ONCA 889

The defendant hosted his late friend for after-work drinks at his mother’s home. The friend consumed 15 cans of beer in three hours before driving home and loading his children and baby sitter in his vehicle to drive the baby sitter home. On the way back to his residence, the friend was involved in a serious accident which killed him and allegedly caused injury to his children. Two court actions were commenced by the deceased’s children and their mother: one for personal injuries sustained by the children; and the other for damages pursuant to the Family Law Act. On a motion for summary judgment, the motion judge dismissed both claims, finding that the requisite duty of care had not been established, and even if it were established, it would have ended once the friend arrived home to pick up his children and the baby sitter. The Court of Appeal affirmed the appropriate duty of care analysis as that set out in Childs v. Desormeaux and held that the motion judge failed to give weight to distinguishable facts between Childs and the case at hand. Furthermore, the motion judge erred in law by accepting that as a general rule, a drunk guest’s safe return home ends the duty of care. The Court of Appeal set aside the motion judge’s order and ordered that the matters proceed to trial.