Jonas v. Elliott, 2020 ONSC 354

The plaintiff Jonas and the defendant Elliott were neighbours. In November 2014, the two were at a buck and doe party at a local facility owned by the defendant City of Stratford, and hosted by the defendant Goudy. Within a short time of their mutual attendance, Elliott saw his wife dancing with Jonas and proceeded to come up behind Jonas, grab his shoulder, twist him around and throw him to the ground. Jonas suffered a broken femur and required surgery. The defendant City of Stratford and Goudy sought summary judgment on the basis that they were not liable to the plaintiff because the loss was not reasonably foreseeable. Justice McArthur granted the summary judgment motion. His reasons focused on the “reasonable foreseeability of harm” and the case law on social host liability. In short, there was nothing occurring prior to the assault that should have alerted the successful defendants of the risk of an assault being reasonably foreseeable. Justice McArthur was critical of the plaintiff’s position, which was in essence an argument for strict liability on an occupier and a social host. The defendants’ success is also notable because it was admitted that there was not complete compliance with the municipal alcohol policy or social occasion permit.

Hummel v. Jantzi, 2019 ONSC 3571

The plaintiff sustained personal injuries as a result of a motor vehicle accident caused by the defendant driver following his departure from the defendant bar. The plaintiff was a passenger in the defendant driver’s vehicle and had also attended the defendant bar on the evening of the accident. At the time of the collision, the plaintiff was not seat belted and the defendant driver was driving 30 km/h over the posted speed limit. Both the plaintiff and defendant driver had blood alcohol levels over the legal limits for operation of a motor vehicle. At trial, liability was apportioned 80% to the defendant driver and 20% to the defendant bar. The plaintiff was found 25% liable for his failure to wear a seatbelt, for entering into a vehicle which he knew would be operated by an impaired driver, and for encouraging the driver to drive faster. The bar was found to be 20% responsible for the contributory negligence.