The Kalliopi L came close to colliding with the Lake Winnipeg and ran aground as a result. On its way to dry docks it ran aground again, although this time at no fault of the respondents. If it had only suffered the initial damage it would have taken 27 days to repair; if it had only suffered the second stint of damages then it would have only required 14 days to repair. In the result it spent 27 days in dry docks. At the lower courts the Lake Winnipeg was found liable for all of the damages. This is the appeal.
- How much of the damage should the Lake Winnipeg be liable for?
L'Heureux-Dubé, writing for the majority, agrees with the trial court and states that because the first incident prevented the ship from profit making for the entire time that it was in the dry docks it is irrelevant that the second incident occurred. You are liable for the direct consequences of your actions, and the direct consequence of the initial action was 27 days in the dry docks.
In the dissent, McLachlin adopts a different approach. She says that the respondents are only truly completely liable for 13 days in the dry docks, and that they should share the liability for the other 14 days with the party who caused the second accident. She believes that this is in line with the practice of contributory negligence that is being adopted in most areas of tort law, and therefore sharing the days evenly the respondents would only be liable for 20 days in the dry docks.
Parties are totally liable for the direct consequences of your actions – however maybe damages should be shared in instances where two defendants share liability, similar to contributory negligence.