The Supreme Court of Canada dismissed an application for leave to appeal from the Ontario Court of Appeal judgment in Onley v. Whitby (Town), 2020 ONCA 774. Zoe Onley was electrocuted and injured near a light pole on property owned by the Town of Whitby. The light pole was damaged by an earlier lightning strike, which caused electricity to leak into the ground where Ms. Onley sat. Ms. Onley and her parents commenced an action in damages against the Town, arguing it failed to take reasonable steps to inspect and maintain its light poles, and the Town breached its duty of care under Ontario’s Occupiers’ Liability Act (“OLA”).
After a lengthy trial in which Charles Loopstra and Paul Martin represented the Town, the trial judge dismissed the family’s action, on the basis the type of damage sustained was not reasonably foreseeable, and the Town had met the standard of care pursuant to the OLA. The C.A. dismissed the appeal, holding the trial judge had correctly set out and applied the standard of care analysis. The Onley’s have been ordered to pay $447,315.41 in costs plus interest to the Town.