A B.C. Supreme Court Justice found that the Town of Sidney is not responsible after a woman slipped and injured herself on black ice in a public parking lot. (Black Press Media file photo)

Town of Sidney not liable for woman’s slip on black ice: Supreme Court Justice

Justice dismisses claims that Town breached duty of care

A woman’s attempt to hold the Town of Sidney liable for her injuries after falling on black ice was denied in B.C. Supreme Court.

On Dec. 20, 2017, the plaintiff, Cindy Lowe, slipped on a small patch of black ice while walking across a public parking lot operated by the Town of Sidney.

Lowe, a licensed practical nurse, had parked her car in the lot at Bevan Avenue and Third Street and was returning from a massage therapy appointment when she “suddenly slipped and fell.”

According to court documents, Lowe was wearing rain boots with a “somewhat worn tread.”

She didn’t recall any ice or snow on the surface of the lot when she was walking, but after the fall said she noticed a patch of black ice where her feet had been.

READ ALSO: Judge finds B.C. couple not liable after man slips, injures back on cleared sidewalk

She later deposed “she had no doubt that she slipped on it and did not trip or stumble.”

As a result of the fall, Lowe suffered an injury to one of her shoulders – including a partial rotator cuff tear – a hurt lower back and a broken wrist. Her wrist required surgery which was performed eight days after the fall.

Documents say the temperature hovered around -2 C that morning and there had been rain and snow the night prior.

The RCMP had contacted the Town of Sidney around 3 a.m. warning of the icy roads – a call that put the Town’s snow removal risk management plan in action.

Public works and Town staff salted priority areas in the municipality, and the Town submitted to the court that it was exempt from owing a duty of care because it kept with its policy and did its best with “the availability of manpower, equipment and budgetary constraints.”

In fact, the Town of Sidney said its parking lots were low priority for snow and ice removal in the absence of a complaint or extreme weather event, something debated by Lowe, who argued that the lot could have been “inspected with little to no effort.”

In his decision, Justice Gordon Weatherill however, called that notion illogical.

“To require as a matter of policy that those involved in the inspection of priority areas, at the same time, divert their attention to and engage in an inspection of areas considered low priority is illogical and inconsistent with reasonable resource allocation and prudent policy-making,” he wrote.

READ ALSO: Supreme Court says garage not liable for teen crash in stolen car

Ultimately, Weatherill dismissed Lowe’s claims – writing that it is “pure speculation” to suggest that the Town would have found the small patch of black ice that caused Lowe to slip if it had done an inspection.

Weatherill also wrote: “the mere fact that an icy surface is salted or sanded does not mean a person will not slip on it.”

The Supreme Court justice said accidents like Lowe’s are frequent, and factors include pace, length of stride, weight and footwear tread among others.



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

View Royal teen inspired by pandemic creates thermal camera from scratch

14-year-old plans to make 10 touchless hand sanitizers for schools

‘I’ve fallen through the cracks’: Victoria woman calls herself new face of homelessness

Tonya Alton has had to move almost ten times since a ‘wrongful eviction’ in March

20-storey hotel proposed for downtown Victoria

Wintergarden Hotel proposed for block of Blanshard Street between Fort and View streets

UPDATED: Young deckhands backed out of fatal Arctic Fox II trip just before fishboat departed

Inexperienced twin brothers had ‘gut feeling’ and bailed before going to open ocean

Police investigating alleged assault on Oak Bay Avenue

Staff at Oak Bay Home Hardware say one person was taken to hospital

B.C. records new COVID-19 death, 85 more cases; Horgan calls on celebrity help

This brings the total number of active confirmed cases to 531 across the province

Horvat scores 2 as Vancouver Canucks beat Blues 5-2 in NHL playoff opener

Game 2 in best-of-seven series goes Friday night

Old-growth forest defenders in Campbell River call for B.C. forest minister’s resignation

Protestors outside North Island MLA’s office ask government to stop old-growth logging

Teachers to get 2 extra days to prepare for students’ return, now set for Sept. 10

Students will first start with orientation and learn rules of COVID-19 classroom policies

High-volume littering at Cape Scott draws ire from hiking groups

Popular Vancouver Island hiking spot not closing, but frustration about crowding grows

SFU to drop ‘Clan’ varsity team name

The ‘Clan’ name is shortened from ‘Clansmen,’ and was introduced roughly 55 years ago

New Tory leader must build a strong team in Commons and for the campaign: Scheer

Scheer marked his final day in the House of Commons today as leader of the Opposition

B.C. to hire 500 more COVID-19 contact tracers ahead of fall

Contract tracers add an ‘extra layer’ in the fight against the novel coronavirus

Feds commit $305M in additional funds for Indigenous communities during COVID-19

Money can be used to battle food insecurity and support children and mental health

Most Read