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CIVIL PROCEDURE - Judgments and orders - Summary judgments - To dismiss action

Wednesday, February 28, 2018 @ 9:35 AM  

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Appeal by the plaintiff from the dismissal of her claim against the respondent County of Simcoe Paramedic Services (paramedic service), paramedic and nine doctors. The appellant commenced a claim against the paramedic service and an unknown paramedic. She claimed that she was defamed in the ambulance call report, which noted that she was yelling and aggressive and at times became violent. She further claimed that a paramedic threatened to taser her. Finally, she alleged that the paramedic services provided to her fell below the standard of care. The motion judge found that summary judgment was appropriate. He found that the paramedic's description in the ambulance report was not published. He also found that the report was not defamatory, as it was based on the paramedic's good faith observations. He also concluded that there was no basis to find that the paramedic threatened to taser the appellant, as both paramedics present denied that the threat had occurred and the appellant acknowledged that she could not recall what was said on discovery. Finally, the judge found that there was no evidence to support that anything the paramedics did fell below the standard of care. The appellant's claims against the nine doctors were for medical negligence, falsification of records, defamation and lack of informed consent. The doctors provided an expert opinion concerning the standard of care. The appellant did not cross-examine the expert or provide an expert opinion of her own. Based on the evidence, the judge dismissed the claim for negligence. He dismissed the claims for falsification of records and defamation, finding that they were based on speculation. The appellant also sued the Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre and one its triage nurses, alleging that the nurse entered false information, defamed her, impacted her care and interfered with future treatments. The judge dismissed these claims as speculative and/or without an evidentiary foundation. He further found that there was no nexus between that hospital visit and her future care.

HELD: Appeal dismissed. This was the type of case that summary judgment was designed to address, as it was a case that could be fairly resolved without the time and expense of a full trial. The decision of the motion judge was entitled to deference, as the appellant had not demonstrated an error of law. There was no evidence supporting any of the claims against the paramedic or the paramedic service. It was open to the motion judge to dismiss the claim for medical negligence given the expert evidence. The appellant had not identified any error in the judge's finding that the claims of falsification of records and defamation were based on speculation. The findings made by the motion judge concerning her treatment at the hospital by the nurse were open to him on the record.

Kueber v. Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre, [2018] O.J. No. 712, Ontario Court of Appeal, J.M. Simmons, L.B. Roberts and I.V.B. Nordheimer JJ.A., February 9, 2018. Digest No. TLD-February262018008