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September 3, 2014

Last week, we blogged about a summary judgment decision dismissing an occupier's liability claim.  This week, our focus is on a slip and fall action that was dismissed at trial.  Once again, the Court confirms that occupiers are not held to standards of protection and what is reasonable depends on the circumstances.

In Souliere v. Casino Niagara, 2014 ONSC 1915 (S.C.J.), the plaintiff slipped and fell in a buffet restaurant.  A staff member saw another patron drop a brown liquid substance, then seconds later the plaintiff fell in that approximate area.

There was no one employee responsible for cleaning floors or inspection, but rather all employees were trained to be on the lookout.  There was no policy of regular cleaning although floors were cleaned at night after the restaurant closed.

Justice Henderson held that the Casino met its duty of care.  The liability analysis in occupier's liability cases is fact driven and varies from case to case.  It revolves around issues of whether the occupier had reasonable policies and procedures in place for the inspection and maintenance of the premises, and whether those policies and procedures were actually followed.  Although there was no evidence the policy was being followed, the evidence was the floor was clean so the policy was working reasonably well.

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