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Slipping Chair Causes Injury but Claim Dismissed

loss of slip and fall case
Business owners don’t have to provide safe chairs under the Occupier Liability Act(OLA) because chairs are not covered by this piece of legislation. The bank in this injury case provided the claimant with a chair to sit on to conduct his banking business. There was no invitation, express or implied, to use the chair for anything beyond that. The court therefore found that the chair was a chattel and thus outside the scope of the Occupier Liability Act( Nerland v. Toronto-Dominion Bank,2016 BCSC 45).
As odd as it may seem there is a body of jurisprudence supporting the view that the collapse of a chair does not fall within the scope of the OLA, because a chair is a chattel. The most frequently cited case is Wiley v. Tymar Management Inc., [1994] B.C.J. No. 3045 (S.C.), aff’d [1997] B.C.J. No. 770 (C.A.), where Madam Justice Allan held that a chair breaking underneath a patron in a bingo hall did not give rise to a statutory duty under the OLA:

[30]   In my opinion, sitting in a chair is not an “activity” conducted on the premises within s. 3(2) of the Act and a chattel such as a chair is clearly excluded from the definition of “premises” in s. 1 of the Act.

The claimant failed to convince the court that this case was different from the foregoing line of authority concerning chairs and the OLA. He simply went to sign some documents on the desk and when the back legs of the chair raised off the floor it slipped and he tumbled to the ground.

The claimant’s alternate argument that the defendant was liable in negligence for his injuries was also unconvincing to the court. Although the court found that the defendant owed the claimant a duty of care, no breach of it in the circumstances of this case was found.

Learn more about slip and fall cases in BC.

 
 
 

Tags: liability, Negligence, occupier liability, Slip and Fall

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