Q1. A woman from British Columbia, Saliha Alnoor, recently sued Colgate-Palmolive, alleging that she was injured by a defective toothbrush. She stated that the toothbrush snapped as she was brushing her teeth, which injured her gums and caused them to bleed profusely. Alnoor claimed that she had endured permanent injury and sought damages, including $94 000 in anticipated treatments. Colgate denied any wrongdoing. Soon after the trial began, the judge made several rulings against Alnoor, who was self-represented. Alnoor later agreed to drop her claim in response to Colgate’s offer to waive legal costs against her (estimated at about $30 000) if she did so. According to the National Post, Alnoor's brother stated as follows: “We spent $21 000 on lawyers and experts, but we have no regrets. Now we know how justice works. Now we are much wiser.” Do you agree with Colgate’s approach to Alnoor’s litigation? What are the risks Colgate faced from the litigation? What are Alnoor’s risks?
Q2. Mrs. Rusholme engaged the firm of Saunders and Watts Ltd. to refinish floors in certain rooms of a home owned by her and her husband in Red Deer, Alberta. She told Mr. Saunders that she and her husband would be away on vacation and that she would leave a key for the workers with her next door neighbor. She asked Saunders to leave the windows partially open for ventilation and to give the key back to her neighbour who would close the windows when the floors were dry. The Rusholmes' house was serviced by gas. Among the appliances was a gas stove in the kitchen with a pilot light (a small flame permanently burning which will ignite the burners or oven when the burners or oven are turned on) which could be turned off manually. The downstairs floors of the house, including that of the dining room, were to be sanded; the dining room was next to the kitchen with no door between the two rooms. After sanding the floors, Saunders and Watts applied a sealer that they had bought from Standard Household Products Ltd. The label on each can of sealer contained the following warning:
Do not smoke. Adequate ventilation to the outside must be provided. All spark-producing devices and open flames (furnaces, all pilot lights, spark producing switches, etc) must be eliminated in or near working areas. Avoid prolonged breathing of vapours. Wear a vapour cartridge mask. Replace cartridge before saturation.