Starbucks Breached Duty of Care In Customer Slip and Fall on Sidewalk - MacKay v. Starbucks Corp ONCA 250

July 07, 2017, Kitchener, Ontario

Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer

MacKay v. Starbucks 2017 ONCA 350

Date of Decision: May 2, 2017
Heard Before: Laskin, Feldman and Hourigan JJ.A.

Ms. MacKay slipped and fell on an ice covered municipal sidewalk in front of a Starbucks in the GTA. She sued Starbucks. In a ruling before the case went to jury, the judge held Starbucks “occupied” that segment of sidewalk and thus owed a ‘duty of care’. A jury went on to find that Starbucks breached their ‘duty of care’ and was liable pursuant to the Occupier’s Liability Act, R.SO. 1990.

Starbucks appealed the judgement. On appeal Justice Feldman held that it was the Trial judge’s prerogative to conclude that Starbucks had responsibility for the sidewalk entrance to its patio area. It also had responsibility for the customers who used that entrance to the store. They were an occupier within the meaning of the Act.

The court rejected MacKay’s submission that even if Starbucks was not found to be an occupier of the property within the meaning of the Act that it should be found negligent under common law duty of care, since the Act replaces previous common law rules determining the nature of duty of care owed by an occupier. Justice Feldman J.A. concluded that it is clear, based on s. 2 of the Act, that there is no general common law duty of care, based on proximity owed by an adjacent property owner in respect of sidewalks that abut that person’s property. The only duty is the statutory duty owed by a person who meets the definition of “occupier” under the Act.

Posted under Accident Benefit News, Pedestrian Accidents, Slip and Fall Injury

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