Saba Ahmad is a Litigator working on environmental, administrative and commercial matters in Toronto. Learn more at www.sabaahmad.com
Interesting decision in the ORs this week: Roe v. Leone, 2012 ONSC 6237, in which the Superior Court considered whether the Windsor Police and the Windsor Health Unit owed a duty of care to four women infected with HIV by the defendant, Carl Leone. Leone learned he was infected in 1997 and infected others over a period of several years. He is now serving an 18-year prison sentence for aggravated sexual assault.
Leone’s co-defendants in the civil suit brought motions for summary judgment, arguing no private law duty of care existed.
The evidence on the motion showed Leone’s co-defendants knew Leone was engaging in sexual behaviour posing a risk to the health of people in the community. There was also evidence that the police did not follow up on some complaints about Mr. Leone.
Despite legal authority involving similar facts, the court ruled it could adopt no “off the shelf” conclusion based on the evidence. Even with new summary judgment rules under Combined Air, permitting judges to weigh evidence, the court ruled a full trial would be needed to determine whether the relationship between Leone’s victims and his co-defendants was sufficiently proximate to warrant recognition of a private law duty of care.