Walsh v. Papadopoulos, 2018 ONSC 1828 (CanLII)

Defendant’s summary judgment motion dismissed in this occupiers’ liability action where the Defendant did not live in the home where the Plaintiff fell.  There were genuine issues for trial regarding the existence of a duty of care and if that duty was breached.   

Date Heard: March 15, 2018 | Full Decision [PDF]

The plaintiff, Christine Walsh, and the defendant, Easter Papadopoulos, are sisters. The two had prepared baskets of baked goods and were transporting them to co-defendant, Antonio Pirone’s house. Ms. Papadopoulos and Mr. Pirone were in a romantic relationship but maintained separate residences. Ms. Papadopoulos lived in Mississauga with her three children and Mr. Pirone lived in the Scarlett Road and Eglinton Avenue area with his two children. Ms. Papadopoulos had a key to Mr. Pirone’s house given their relationship. Mr. Pirone’s material status was unknown and Ms. Papadopoulos was not yet divorced and had no intention to become divorced.

On December 14, 2014, Ms. Walsh entered Mr. Pirone’s house to take the baskets to the basement as instructed by Ms. Papadopoulos. Ms. Walsh failed to negotiate the stairs, fell and fractured her right ankle. She sued both Ms. Papadopoulos and Mr. Pirone, alleging they were both occupiers of the premises with a statutory duty imposed on them pursuant to s. 3 of the Occupiers’ Liability Act.

Ms. Papadopoulos brought the within summary judgment motion to dismiss the claim against her on the basis there was no evidence to support she was within the definition of occupier as defined in s. 1 of the Occupiers’ Liability Act.

In dismissing the summary judgment motion, Justice Dow noted that in addition to having a key to the premises, a text was sent from Ms. Papadopoulos to her sister indicating she spends “probably 80% of the time or 75% at the least” at Mr. Pirone’s residence. Another text described Mr. Pirone as “the closet thing I’ve had to a husband..” On a balance of probabilities, it was held there was a genuine issue for trial and evidence capable of being relied on to conclude Ms. Papadopoulos was an occupier for the purpose of the Occupiers’ Liability Act.

Justice Dow also held that the factual matrix before him; namely, Ms. Papadopoulos indicating the basket was to go downstairs, that the basket was of a size that blocked part of Ms. Walsh’s field of vision and prevented her from using the available handrail, may result in a trier of fact to conclude that Ms. Papadopoulos breached her duty of care. The summary judgment motion was dismissed accordingly.

 

Read the full decision [PDF]
Susan Dhaliwal
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As a personal injury lawyer, Susan is passionate about and dedicated to obtaining fair compensation for injured victims. She knows firsthand the legal process can be complicated to navigate and uses a positive and compassionate approach when assisting her clients.

Following her call to the Bar in 2012, Susan has limited her practice exclusively to the area of personal injury. She frequently appears before the Superior Court of Justice and has successfully represented clients at arbitration before the Financial Services Commission of Ontario.

Susan is active in her community and can provide legal services in Punjabi.