Tort Law Cases.docx

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Management and Organizational Studies
Management and Organizational Studies 2276A/B
Frederick King

Tort Law 1/15/2013 6:23:00 AM Cases INTENTIONAL TORTS: BATTERY Malette v. Shulman, Ontario Court of Appeal – Jehovah’s witness blood transfusion  Facts: o Malette was seriously injured in a car accident and was brought to the emergency room unconscious o She received a blood transfusion even thought the doctor was aware of her card saying she didn’t want such treatment o She sued for the tort of battery and was awarded $20,000  The judge ruled that the doctor was not negligent because his actions saved her life, but tortuously violated her rights by overlooking her Jehovah’s Witness card  The law supports the right of competent adults to make decisions concerning their own healthcare by imposing civil liability on those who perform medical treatment without consent Fortey (Guardian ad Litem) v. Canada – police didn’t take boy to hospital  Guardian ad litem – the plaintiff is a minor  Facts o Fortey had a serious head injury, was drunk and angry and needed medical attention by the police o He refused medical attention so the police left him  Cause of action – negligence, the police had a duty of care to act reasonably  Courts said the police were negligent Halushka v. the University of Saskatchewan et al., Sask. Court of Appeal – faulty university experiment  Facts: o A student signed a consent form to partake in a medical experiment at the University Hospital o The doctors did not tell him they would be testing an anesthetic or a catheter that would be advanced to and through his heart o The student suffered a complete cardiac arrest during the treatment  Student successfully sued for trespass to the person because the courts found that the consent form signed wasn’t valid since the student wasn’t aware of the risks of the experiment CONVERSION (TRESPASS TO CHATTELS) Gu v. Tai Foong International Ltd., Ontario Court of Appeal – stolen laptop  Facts: o During a multimillion dollar joint venture between Gu Group and the Lam group, a person from the Lam Group seized Gu’s laptop  The court found that Gu’s computer was one of his most important business tools and that it was held with no justification  Gu Group was awarded punitive damages of $50,000 and $25,000 for the conversion (trespass to chattels), as well as his laptop back Mohtadi v. Canada Trust Co. – faulty safety deposit box system  Facts: o Canada Trust Co. drilled open a safety deposit box and withdrew the contents as security for non-payment  Payments had been paid for years, but the company’s system for updating was out of date and faulty  Resulted in an award of damages for the tort of conversion and for punitive and aggravated damages DEFAMATION Hill v. Church of Scientology, SCC – lawyer trashes another in public  Facts: o Church would sell many books o Revenue Canada said that they were a business and should therefore pay taxes on their sales o Police raided the church and took thousands of documents and books o Manning shows up on the steps of the Toronto CA and made a public statement saying terrible false allegations about Hill o Hill then sues the church and Manning for defamation o Manning was a lawyer for the church, Hill was the lawyer for revenue Canada o Manning tried to argue that Hill infringed his Charter rights  Only the government can infringe Charter rights, so Hill did not infringe on them  Even if the Charter did apply, it does not pass section 1 – says the importance of a persons reputation trumps the freedom of expression if what is said is false  Court rejected this argument o Manning argues he was using his qualified privilege  Qualified privilege – when it is so important to give the client a full defense that a lawyer gets a pardon from anything that may otherwise be defamatory  Absolute privilege – one can say anything they want and not be sued for defamation  MPs in the House of Commons  Clients speaking to their lawyer  Court rejected this argument  Appealed to the SCC, Hill was awarded damages of $800,000 for compensation and $800,000 for punitive damages, totaling $1.6 million  Lawyers owe their highest legal duty to the court – they must play by the rules and not give their highest duty to the client  Costs o Party-party – 1/3 o Solicitor-client – ½  Court feels the losing side should not have brought the case, it was a waste of time o Substantial indemnity – almost never awarded, 100% of cost  Very inappropriate use of court Hodgson v. Canadian Newspapers Co. Ltd., Ontario CA – false story  Facts: o Newspaper published defamatory remarks o The plaintiff was awarded $880,000 in damages, $100,000 of which were punitive  Appeal was allowed regarding the punitive damages, but everything else was final FALSE IMPRISONMENT Nichols v. Wal-Mart Canada Corp., Ontario Superior Court of Justice – landlord stole, tenant didn’t  Facts: o Nichols was shopping in Wal-Mart with her landlord (Thorne) and his children o Nichols reached for a camera on a high shelf and gave it to Thorne who was too short to reach o Nichols then went to another department to browse, during which Thorne was observed putting the camera in his jacket o Both were escorted to the back of the store, where no merchandise was found on Nichols, while Thorne had two cameras and cologne inside his jacket o Both were charged with theft, Thorne pleaded guilty and charges against Nichols was withdrawn  Nichols wanted damages from Wal-Mart for unlawful imprisonment  The court found that a crime was committed and the defendant had reasonable and probable grounds for detaining the plaintiff o Under the criminal code the crime must be committed by the plaintiff, while in common law it is sufficient if there were reasonable grounds to believe that the plaintiff was guilty of the crime, as long as it is proven the crime was committed by someone else Parlee (Guardian ad Litem of) v. Port of Call Holdings Ltd., BC Supreme Court – stolen chocolate milk  Appeal – the facts are stated by the trial judge  Trial courts hear appeals: o Small Claims Court matters  Facts: o Parlee puts a container of milk back in the cooler in a convenience store o Employee checks the container and finds it unsealed and some of the contents gone o The manager stopped and detained Parlee o Parlee sued for false imprisonment  A person can however make a lawful arrest if there is a belief of a crime committed and the belief is reasonable o Parlee appealed  Judge says one can make a citizens arrest if one believes a crime has been committed (subjective) and that the belief is reasonable (objective)  The judge said if the manager had detained him because he believed he had stolen the milk (and not to interrogate him to discover if he had) then it would have been a lawful arrest – lacking one of the factors for a lawful arrest o Judge awarded Parlee damages for unlawful arrest MISAPPRROPRIATION/BREACH OF PRIVACY Pyke et al. v. Tri Gro Enterprises et al. – mushroom farm  Facts: o Plaintiffs (respondents) said that the odours emanating from the defendant’s (appellant’s) mushroom farm were interfering with the reasonable enjoyment of their homes o Several respondents complained of sore throats and breathing difficulties which they attributed to the odours  The court dismissed the claim on negligence and found the farm liable in nuisance o The odours have affected the physical well-being of the plaintiffs to a significant degree and substantially disrupted the use of their lands o The respondents weren’t unusually sensitive, they were familiar with odours emanating from a nearby pig farm, but the appellant's odours were much worse NEGLIGENCE: DUTY OF CARE John et al. v. Flynn et al., Ontario CA – alcoholic at work  Facts o Flynn was an alcoholic and his work was aware of it o Flynn went to work and drank at work, drove home, went to a friends house with a drink in his lap, collided with John’s car on the way to his friends o John sues Flynn’s employer saying that they owed a duty of care  The court says there was no reasonable foreseeability by his employer – they didn’t know he was drinking at work o Even if the employer did owe a duty of care, that duty ended when he got home from work because he got home safely STANDARD OF CARE Ingles v. Tutkaluk Construction Ltd. et al., SCC – faulty underpinnings  Facts: o Renovations had begun with knowledge of the owners before the contractor had obtained a building permit o The inspectors couldn’t tell if the underpinnings were installed properly and went off of the assurances of the contractor o A few weeks later the appellant (owner) began to experience flooding, so they hired another contracting company to fix it, only to find out the original underpinnings were inadequate LaFlamme Inc. v. Prudential-Bache Commodities Canada Ltd., SCC White v. Webster – cow on the highway  Facts: o The plaintiff slammed on his brakes to avoid hitting a cow only to have his 28-foot vehicle to fall off the bridge into the canal below and Mr. white was injured o The cow had escaped from a farm owned by the defendants through a whole in the fence  The court initially found each party equally liable (Mr. White was contributorily negligent) o Mr. White waited until the last minute to swerve showing some absence of lookout on his part o Considering the defendant's farm was located on the side of a highway and not a country road proves why the repair needed on the fence was of upmost importance  The appeal court then decided that the defendant was more at fault because Mr. White was in a set of circumstances where he had little reason to anticipate the a cow would be on the highway o The appeal court reduced the contributory negligence fault against Mr. White to 25% and increased the defendants to 75% CAUSATION Hendry v. Chiang and Chao, Supreme Court of BC – broken window  Facts: o The tenant plaintiff complained to the landlord defendants that a ground floor window was loose and could easily be removed o Subsequently and intruder broke in, not by lifting the loose window, but by breaking
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