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PHYSICAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL INJURIES - Third party claims - Persons entitled to claim - Parent - Recoverable losses

Friday, July 30, 2021 @ 5:42 AM  

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Appeal by the defendants from trial decision finding them liable in negligence and from the damages awarded resulting from the loss of the respondents’ daughter. The respondents’ daughter resided in the basement of a rooming house owned by the appellants. Their daughter died from severe injuries suffered in a fire in the rooming house. She could not escape because the windows were barred, and the only exit to the apartment was engulfed in flames and smoke. The interior access stairway connecting the basement apartment to the main rooming house was blocked off. The jury found the appellants fell below the standard of care of a reasonable landlord and found them responsible for the death. The jury awarded the respondents each $250,000 for loss of care, guidance and companionship, $250,000 for mental distress, $174,800 for future costs of care for the father and $151,200 for future care costs of the mother.

HELD: Appeal dismissed. While there was an irregularity in the jury selection in that there was an inadvertent release of jurors from the jury pool, this was a minor irregularity that resulted in no prejudice to the appellants. While the cause of the fire remained undetermined at trial, the jury found that because of the appellants’ negligent acts, the daughter was left helpless in the face of a fire, which led to her injuries and eventual death. The jury’s finding of negligence had nothing to do with the source of the fire. The jury’s verdict was not unreasonable. The quantum of damages was reasonable. While the jury award for loss of guidance and companionship was undoubtedly high, it was not inordinately high, considering the respondents lost their only child. There was a basis on which to award future care costs. Based upon the evidentiary foundation laid at trial, there was no basis upon which to interfere with the damages awarded for the respondents’ future costs of care.

Moore v. 7595611 Canada Corp., [2021] O.J. No. 3463, Ontario Court of Appeal, J.M. Fairburn A.C.J.O., A.L. Harvison Young and M. Jamal JJ.A., June 25, 2021. Digest No. TLD-July262021009