- Case Summary
Thornhill v. Shadid
2008 CanLII 3404 (ONSC)
The plaintiff, a nurse, was hit head-on by a motorist who lost control on snow-covered roads on Christmas Day.
The Regional Municipality of York relied on inaccurate records suggesting the road had been ploughed. It also relied on new regulations, O.Reg 239/02, Minimum Maintenance Standards for Municipal Highways, that set very low patrolling and ploughing standards.
We established that the records were implausible after-the-fact reconstructions and exposed the flaws and gaps in the Ontario regulation that put motorists at risk. Our efforts included hiring an American scientist who helped design the Apollo Lunar Roving Vehicle tires and developed Goodyear’s test track to testify and inform the court about tire traction. Justice Howden’s decision became the precedent-setting decision for all winter road maintenance cases in Ontario.
Following this trial, Ontario made changes to the regulation, mandating improved inspection practices in winter conditions. This case also represents the highest pain and suffering award given for an orthopaedic knee injury in Canada.