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Assault not Fault of Store Owner

This claimant was physically assaulted by an unknown customer while waiting in line at the retail store, London Drugs. He claimed London Drugs was civilly liable for the injuries he suffered in the assault. The claim was in negligence and under the Occupiers Liability Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 337 ( slip and fall legislation).

Without a lawyer and with the occasional assistance of pro-bono and duty counsel, he proceeded to trial. In dismissing his case the court was blunt in stating,

[45] In my view, London Drugs took reasonable steps to ensure the reasonable safety of its stores. London Drugs was not under a duty to guard against the sudden, random, and apparently unprecedented act of violence by John Doe #1. There was no foreseeable risk that London Drugs customers might be the victim of unprovoked physical assaults by other London Drugs customers. To impose a duty on London Drugs to guard against such a contingency would render London Drugs an insurer, which is not the standard imposed by the OLA: Coleiro v. Premier Fitness Clubs, 2010 ONSC 4350; Bracken at para. 20. (Tanaka v. London Drugs Limited,2019 BCSC 1182 )

The law does not make retail stores insurers of every unfortunate event that occurs on the premises. The fact that an assault occurred at a London Drugs store is insufficient to establish legal liability.

Getting to Injury Settlement with a Store

Tags: Assault and battery, Foreseeable risk, occupier liability

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