John Rogers is a 45-year-old, fridge repair technician working for himself as a soleproprietor under the trade name of FridgeFixRus and lives at 19 Pigeon Cove, Springfield, Alberta with his two huskies. John is an avid hiker and skier. When not working you can find him in the mountains with his two dogs.
Laura Hanson is a freelance website designer and works out of her home at 24 Knights Drive. In October of this year she was having problems with her fridge cooler and called FridgeFixRus for service.
On October 4, 2017, John arrived at Laura’s home. The fridge cooler needing services is in the basement of Laura’s house. When Laura opened the door to the basement, she noticed that she left some boxes on the stairs that were partially blocking the way down. Laura states that she asked the technician if he wanted her to remove the boxes but the technician said that it would be alright to leave them there, but John does not remember this at all and denies Laura ever saying anything about the boxes. Laura went back to work in her office after opening the door to the basement for John.
A few minutes later, Laura heard John cursing loudly (she assumed that something was not going right with the task) and then heard a loud noise coming from the basement. She suspected that something was going on and went to the top of the stairs.
When John was descending the stairs, he tripped on one of the boxes and fell into the basement. John got up and told Laura that he was “ok”. He repaired the fridge cooler and left. When he left, Laura noticed that he was limping slightly but appeared not to be seriously injured.
After leaving Laura’s house, John did not feel very well and made his way to a drop-in clinic. Dr. Who examined John and noted that he suffered a strain in the left arm, abrasions, and bruising to his left arm and leg and overall seemed to be very distraught. The doctor also noted that John’s shirt and trousers were ruined.
Dr. Who told John that he needed at least two weeks to recover from the fall, prescribed John a variety of costly painkillers and a sedative. Dr. Who noted the anxiety that John was feeling and determined that a sedative would help him recover faster. John did not work for two weeks.
John required medical treatment, including subsequent visits to the hospital, x-rays, doctor’s visits, medication, massage therapy and physiotherapy.
John estimates that in the two weeks off work he lost about $5,000.00 in income and spent so far at least $2,000.00 on medication, massage therapy and physiotherapy and gasoline to travel to and from home to see the doctors. Doctors have told him that he may feel the effects of this injury for years to come. He already feels that he cannot spend as much time playing and walking with his two dogs and this has greatly affected his life. He has also started seeing a therapist to help him cope with his depression.
Following his recovery, John talked to a lawyer who advised him that he may sue Laura for compensation. John does not want to spend the money to hire the lawyer to prepare the civil claim and decides to do it on his own.
During his visit, the lawyer estimated John’s non-pecuniary general damages for pain and suffering and loss of amenities and enjoyment of life to be somewhere between $30,000 and $50,000.00. John would like to sue for the maximum amount possible in the Provincial Court of Alberta.
You are John. Prepare a Civil Claim based on the facts provided above. Then, as yourself, assess John’s claim and any defences Laura may have in a legal memorandum.
Please prepare a Civil Claim. Refer to “Commencing a Claim in Provincial Court Civil & Getting and Enforcing Your Judgment in Alberta”
You will use the above fact pattern and analyze it following the methodology we have studied which is summarized for you in the document called, “Negligence Review: How to Write a Prize Winning Answer to a Negligence Problem” included below.
Your memorandum need not follow classic rules or format because you are not writing an academic paper, you are preparing a legal memo. You need to include the following
- A brief description of the fact situation you will analyze
- A heading for each topic (eg: “Duty of Care”)
- A discussion of which of the three defences to negligence would apply to your situation
- A statement of your conclusion: will this law suit succeed or not?