- Case Summary
Roycroft v. Kyte
1999 OJ NO 296 (Sup Ct.)
This 17-day trial involved a tragic single motor vehicle accident. Bill Goff and Jonathan Roycroft were passengers in a vehicle that left the roadway at the crest of an old hill in the Town of East Gwillimbury. Bill sustained catastrophic injuries, including paralysis from his chest down and a brain injury. Jonathan sustained fatal injuries.
The Town denied liability and maintained its position throughout that the accident’s sole cause was the negligent operation of the vehicle by the driver.
A lawyer who was aware of our expertise in municipal liability referred the case to us.
We succeeded in proving at trial that numerous roadway design deficiencies contributed to the driver’s loss of control, including inadequate width, restricted sightlines, and a steep downslope on the north side. We also demonstrated that the reduced speed limit sign was insufficient to warn motorists of the hill’s dangerous conditions.
The trial judge found it significant that the Town knew of previous accidents on the hill but only made changes following Bill and Jonathan’s accident. The case broadened the admissibility of subsequent repair evidence. It also established that poor driving is not a bar to recovery against a municipality.
Immediately following the trial, the hill was flattened and made safer for the travelling public.