News
In the News
Sep 23, 2019

Loretta Merritt in the Law Times on the recent ruling in Ontario court that a cap on general damages does not apply to sexual abuse

Share:
Law Times View original

The Ontario Superior Court has awarded general damages in excess of the cap in a sexual assault case, a first for the province, say lawyers.

Known as the trilogy, three cases from the late 1970s – Andrews v. Grand and Toy Alberta Limited, Thornton v. District No. 57 and Arnold v. Teno – established that plaintiffs could not recover more than $350,000 (adjusted for inflation) for non-pecuniary damages as the result of a catastrophic personal injury.

In D.S. v. Quesnelle, Justice Clyde Smith awarded $400,000 to a man repeatedly sexually assaulted by Louis Omer Quesnelle between 1987 and 1992. In a criminal trial, Quesnelle was convicted in 2013 and sentenced to five years in prison.

The nature of the assaults in D.S. v. Quesnelle made it “the worst of the worst cases,” says Loretta Merritt, a lawyer at Torkin Manes LLP, whose practice focuses on historical sexual abuse.

In awarding damages for pain and suffering, courts consider the age, vulnerability and subsequent impact of the plaintiff; the number, frequency and nature of the assaults and whether the respondent was in a position of trust, Merritt says. At the time of the abuse, the plaintiff was between five and 10, there were numerous, serious assaults and the assaults were “as invasive and degrading as they could be,” she says.

This article originally appeared in the Law Time. Visit the Law Times to read the complete article. 

Related News

Firm News

Torkin Manes has established a bursary for Black students at Osgoode Hall Law School

As part of our commitment to diversity and inclusion, and to create opportunities for Black students to pursue law as a career.
Feb 17, 2021
In the News

Supreme Court of Canada denies leave to appeal in Loretta Merritt’s precedent setting Court of Appeal case

Loretta P. Merritt Irene Deschene was sexually abused as a child by priest Charles Sylvester of the Diocese of London in Ontario. As an adult she sued the church.
Feb 11, 2021
Firm News

Torkin Manes has once again been shortlisted for Canadian Lawyer’s Top 10 Regional Law Firms in Ontario

Vote for Torkin Manes in Canadian Lawyer’s Survey for Ontario’s Top 10 Regional Law Firms – With Your Help We Can Retain our #1 Position!
Jan 20, 2021