When broken, defective, or dangerous consumer products are
thrown out with the trash, potentially important evidence for
future litigation is tossed away with it. A recent decision by the
Ontario Superior Court, Stilwell v. World Kitchens Inc., 2013
ONSC 3354, allowed injured plaintiffs to recover in a product
liability case, despite the fact that they had little evidence to
show that it was the defendants' product that caused the
injuries, and they lacked proof of how the particular item
shattered. Justice Leach issued an interim endorsement that the
jury could not be asked to consider the doctrine of spoliation,
that is, the jury was not permitted to think that the discarded
evidence would "tell against" the plaintiffs if it were
found. While the decision did not introduce new law, it is a
poignant reminder that those who manufacture disposable or
perishable consumer goods may be particularly vulnerable to
product-less liability claims where they are unable to rely on
The recent decision Arora v. Whirlpool LP, 2013 ONCA
657 by the Ontario Court of Appeal clarified the law on product
liability in tort. In refusing to certify a proposed class action,
the Court found that Whirlpool was not liable for economic losses
stemming from the allegedly negligent design and manufacture of
non-dangerous washing machines. However, the Court was clear that
the manufacturer could still be open to liability on contractual or
statutory grounds, as could be the retailers that sold the
Bill C-17, An Act to amend the Food and Drugs Act was
introduced to Parliament by the Minister of Health on December 6,
2013. The bill proposes a number of amendments to the Food and
Drugs Act (the Act) which has not been substantially updated
in over 50 years. The amendments seek to improve the safety of
drugs and medical devices by broadening Health Canada's powers
to include the ability to collect post-market safety information
and take appropriate action when a serious health risk is
The prospect of an internal investigation raises many thorny issues. This presentation will canvass some of the potential triggering events, and discuss how to structure an investigation, retain forensic assistance and manage the inevitable ethical issues that will arise.
From the boardroom to the shop floor, effective organizations recognize the value of having a diverse workplace. This presentation will explore effective strategies to promote diversity, defeat bias and encourage a broader community outlook.
Staying local but going global presents its challenges. Gowling WLG lawyers offer an international roundtable on doing business in the U.K., France, Germany, China and Russia. This three-hour session will videoconference in lawyers from around the world to discuss business and intellectual property hurdles.
The recent decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal in BMW Financial Services Canada, a Division of BMW Canada Inc. v. McLean provides some useful insight into the relationship between automobile dealers and the financing arms of the manufacturers for whom those dealers are franchisees.
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