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Negligence Does Not Imply Damages

Posted on December 1, 1996 | Posted in Lawyers' Issues

Lawyers may be negligent on occasion. However, not all negligence leads to damages. The client learned this the hard way in Bru-Hill Limited v. House, an unreported 1996 Ontario Court (General Division) decision of Madam Justice Metivier.

The solicitor who prepared a chattel mortgage as part of a sale was held to be negligent. He did not use the correct name of the purchaser in the PPSA registration and he did not advise the vendor in his reporting letter that the client had a duty to renew the registration.

However, the client’s actions illustrated a course of conduct which led the judge to believe that, regardless of what the solicitor did or did not do, the client would not have enforced his rights over the security. Accordingly, the judge concluded that the damages suffered by the client did not arise out of the solicitor’s negligence.

You will note that our explanation of the facts is very terse. This is because the reasons for decision left much to be desired in setting out the facts.

There were two reasons for reporting this case. The first is to emphasize that damages incurred do not necessarily flow from solicitor’s negligence. The second is to repeat the following refrain: report fully to your client.


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