MacDonald v. Duncan, 2015 ONSC 7135

Released November 17, 2015 | Decision

This is a case that marginally expands the upper limit of damages for loss of care, guidance, and companionship for the loss of an adult sibling. It also demonstrates that courts will be liberal in considering what relationships qualify for “enhanced” awards.

The deceased, Bernadette MacDonald, was a woman in her 50s. Her sisters were 60 and 62, respectively, by the time of trial. All three sisters were teachers. Bernadette MacDonald had lived in Ontario for 20 years, while her sisters lived in Nova Scotia. The defendant submitted that an appropriate award for each sister was between $5,000 and $10,000.

Justice Glass concluded that Bernadette MacDonald and her sisters maintained constant contact and were “closer than many families.” He awarded each sister $35,000 for loss of care, guidance, and companionship, which he noted took into account an enhancement to previous court awards. This was in recognition of the fact that the sisters were more than average siblings who sent Christmas cards and shared occasional phone calls.

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Written by

For over a decade, Rikin Morzaria has dedicated his practice to representing those who have suffered serious or catastrophic personal injuries and families who have lost a loved one in wrongful death cases. His areas of practice include traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, cycling injuries, fatal accidents, medical malpractice, nursing home negligence, and disability insurance claims.

Rikin received his Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) with Distinction from the Schulich School of Business at York University. He completed his law degree at the University of Toronto, where he also received the top prize in Trial Advocacy and the top prize in Public International Law.

Rikin has written and published more than twenty journal articles and chapters in leading textbooks in the field of civil litigation and personal injury law. He is regularly invited to give lectures to other lawyers and to health professionals about litigation and personal injury law.

Rikin believes passionately in the need for safe streets and commutes by bicycle to work every day. When not working, Rikin spends his time with his wife and two children.