Zaravellas v. Armstrong, 2016 ONSC 3616

A good refresher on the test for Gross Negligence

Released June 3, 2016 | Full Decision [CanLII]

On December 23, 2007 the Plaintiff fell on a City of Toronto sidewalk, which was covered in ice.  A severe snow storm had occurred one week prior and the City had been working to clear the snow and ice from this storm. In his determination  of whether the City was grossly negligent, the trial judge cited a two part test:

  1. Was the municipality’s general  policy with respect to ice and snow removal a reasonable one?
  2. Was the municipality’s response on the occasion in question (that is to say, the implementation of its policy) reasonable?

The Court found the City was not grossly negligent.  They had a number of measures in place to deal with the presence of ice and snow on the roads and sidewalks, including patrols, ploughing plans, and a complaint system. The trial judge also found that on the occasion in question, the City’s response was reasonable. Thy City initiated their ploughing operations when the heavy snowfall began and continued until conditions improved on December 21, 2007. The temperature remained above freezing on the day before and after the Plaintiff’s fall and for that reason it was reasonable for the sidewalks to remain unsalted.

Despite not finding any gross negligence, the trial judge assessed the Plaintiff’s contributory negligence at 25% for wearing shoes that were not fit for the weather.

Read the full decision on CanLII
Written by

Jan received her Bachelor of Arts (Honors) in Development Studies from Huron University College at the University of Western Ontario in 2005 and her J.D. from Western's Law School in 2009. While attending law school, Jan volunteered with the school's Community Legal Clinic and Pro-Bono Students Canada. She also participated in an international exchange program at ESADE in Barcelona where she studied both International and European Union law.

Before joining Gluckstein Personal Injury Lawyers, Jan completed her articles at a prominent personal injury firm. She was called to the bar in June 2010.

Jan's personal injury practice is dedicated to medical negligence.

When not practicing law, Jan enjoys travelling, playing soccer and volleyball.