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OCCUPIERS’ LIABILITY - Particular situations - Ice and snow

Friday, October 30, 2020 @ 6:16 AM  

Lexis Advance® Quicklaw®
Appeal by the defendant School District from the dismissal of its application for summary judgment dismissing the action against it. The plaintiff sued for injuries suffered in a slip and fall accident on a sidewalk outside a school. The plaintiff slipped and fell moments after the school custodian sanded the sidewalk. She was walking behind the school custodian while he was spreading sand. The chambers judge held that there were conflicting bits of evidence and that a trial was needed to resolve them. He stated that he could not agree that a finding of no negligence on the part of the defendant was so simple, so direct and so straightforward.

HELD: Appeal allowed. The application for summary judgment was granted. This case was ideally suited for summary disposition. The chambers judge did not apply the Weir-Jones standard. Instead of asking whether he could decide the facts on a balance of probabilities, he considered whether the ultimate disposition if there was a trial was obvious. If he had applied Weir-Jones, he would have summarily dismissed the plaintiff’s action. There was no genuine issue to be tried. The facts and the law were incontrovertible. A trial would not produce a more complete factual record than already existed. The defendant was not negligent. It discharged its obligations under the Occupiers’ Liability Act. There was nothing more the defendant should have done to make its sidewalk safe for visitors.

Hannam v. Medicine Hat School District No. 76, [2020] A.J. No. 1011, Alberta Court of Appeal, B.K. O'Ferrall, T.W. Wakeling and K.P. Feehan JJ.A., September 25, 2020. Digest No. TLD-October262020010