The Ontario Court of Appeal has overturned a summary judgment ruling that found Correctional Service Canada liable for negligence after a man was injured in a 2013 jail beating.
The ruling in Fontenelle v. Canada (Attorney General), 2018 ONCA 475 states that the motion judge, Ontario Superior Court Justice David Price “greatly exceeded his authority in granting summary judgment in this case in favour of the respondent,” in terms of determining liability in the case.
James Fontenelle Jr. had launched a claim after he was attacked at Millhaven Institution in October 2013 by other inmates during a prisoner strike at the facility. He alleged he suffered life-threatening head injuries as a result of the beating and that prison staff with Correctional Service Canada — and the Attorney General of Canada — failed him by not responding to a cell alarm that was activated the night he was beaten.
In a ruling made last November, Price found in Fontenelle’s favour when it came to liability, and bifurcated the proceeding to hold a trial at a later date on damages. However, the COA ruling reversed this, and ordered the matter to proceed to trial for both liability and damages.