Case Summary: Saulnier v. Diamond

Injuries sustained due to falling off a ladder

If a ladder breaks as you’re climbing, do you have legal recourse?

In Saulnier v. Diamond, 2015 NSSC 346, the Plaintiff fell off of a ladder while attempting to inspect a chimney at the Defendants’ Property. He sustained injuries to his shoulder and arm. The ladder buckled under his weight due to being 20 years old and was provided by the Defendants.  The Plaintiff thus claimed damages under the Occupiers Liability Act and at common law in negligence and/or negligent misrepresentation.  Justice Allan P. Boudreau reviewed the evidence and found that the Defendants failed in fulfilling their duties under Occupiers Liability Act and common law. In particular, he found that the ladder was faulty and the negligent statements by the Defendants’ agent led the Plaintiff to use the ladder.  Justice Boudreau, however, also found the Plaintiff was equally liable as he was intoxicated at the time of the accident and placed the ladder on uneven ground. There was also no expert or direct evidence available as to why the ladder broke. Hence, he estimated total damages at $75,000 and awarded $55,000 in general damages, $5,000 as pre-judgment interest, and $10,000 for diminished earning capacity as the Plaintiff had no job. Finally, an award of $37,750 was given in favour of the Plaintiff after deducting amounts for his contributory negligence.