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Sierakowski v. Grand, 2022 ONSC 3150


Facts of the Case

On December 24th 2019, the Plaintiff, Peter Sierakowski (“Sierakowski”) was returning home to his rented room at 1790 Cedar Lane (“the Premises”) when he slipped on some ice and fell, breaking his right hip, requiring surgery the next day. At the time of the injury, Sierakowski was unemployed and on disability for chronic COPD, and was a user of illegal narcotics.

As a result of the injury, Sierakowski claimed to have ongoing pain and only able to sleep on his left side. He claimed to now walk with a limp and require a cane, to be unable to take nature walks, walk long distances or sit or stand for long periods, and to have suffered depression as a result of the injury.

A statement of claim was issued against the homeowners and Defendants Mark Grand (“Grand”) and Irma Kucera (“Kucera”), in November 2021, nearly two years after the accident. Neither Defendants filed a statement of defence, putting them both into default in May 2022.

As the residence in question was put up for sale by the Defendants, Sierakowski brought an Order for judgment on an urgent basis for damages, costs, and other disbursements totaling $147,678.35

The Defendants were not represented in court as no one appeared. The matter was adjudicated by Justice C.F. de Sa.

Issues in the Case

At issue was whether the Defendants were liable for damages and costs related to the Plaintiff’s slip and fall injury on their Premises, and at what value.

Decision

Justice C.F. de Sa was satisfied that the Defendants did indeed owe the Plaintiff a “duty of care,” and found them responsible for the injuries sustained by Sierakowski.

Justice C.F. de Sa granted Sierakowski general damages of $80,000, future care costs of $10,000, reimbursement of an OHIP Subrogated Claim for $15,519.75, $21,275.59 for costs, and $883.01 for disbursements, for a total of $127,678.35.

Reasons

Justice C.F. de Sa found that, as per the Occupiers’ Liability Act, the Defendants owed Sierakowski a duty of care concerning the Premises, meaning that it should be safe for anyone to be there. Justice C.F. de Sa found that indeed it was their negligence, not Sierakowski’s, that led to his injury, making them liable.

Individual Statements of Claim were issued against both Defendants in November 2021. Kucera initially expressed an intention to defend the action but did not take any further steps and did not respond to requests by counsel to file a Statement of Defence. Grand did not respond.

Sierakowski was seeking $100,000 in general damages for his injuries and cited a variety of case precedents to justify his claim. After consideration, Justice C.F. de Sa found that the particular circumstances in this case, including the claimant’s age, the severity of his physical and psychological injuries, and the related impacts on his employment situation and personal life entitled him to $80,000. Justice C.F. de Sa also considered Sierakowski’s narcotic use and its possible impacts on the speed of his recovery.

Justice C.F. de Sa found Sierakowski’s claim for $10,000 for future care costs to be reasonable along with the other $47,678.35 in costs and disbursements requested and granted the full amounts.

The total amount granted to Sierakowski was $127,678.35, plus any interest owed.

Source consulted: Sierakowski v. Grand, 2022 ONSC 3150

 
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