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Following are our summaries of the civil decisions of the Court of Appeal for Ontario released this past week.
Topics covered included:
1. A review of the conflicting case law relating to the deduction of statutory accident benefits (“SABs”) paid before a trial from the amount of tort damages awarded at trial. The Court rejected the approach that requires temporal and qualitative matching of SABs to heads of tort damages (the strict matching approach), finding that that approach was based on an earlier, outdated statutory scheme and case law, the authority of which had been overtaken by amendments to the legislation. The Court instead opted for a “silo” approach, which requires the tort award only to match generally with the broad corresponding SABs categories or silos.
2. A review of the test for lifting an automatic stay pending appeal of a money judgment.
3. Several appeals from motions for summary judgment in the context of equitable set-off, agreements of purchase and sale of land, and a matrimonial proceeding.
5. A pleadings motion regarding whether lawyers owe a duty to third parties to verify the accuracy of the information contained in affidavits they draft or commission (no).
6. Setting aside separation agreements for non-disclosure under section 56(4) of the Family Law Act.
7. The Court’s consideration of a series of questions concerning successive employment contracts executed after the sale of a business partially owned by the employee.
8. We included a summary of provincial/regulatory offences decision in the environmental context. The Court made it clear that minimum fines are not to be varied by a trial judge using their sentencing discretion except in very exceptional circumstances. The decision will have broad application across all manner of regulatory offences moving forward, from environmental to workplace safety, and a whole host of other contexts.