Oddy v. Waterway Partnership Equities Inc.

In Appeals, Personal Injury and Maritime Law on (Updated )

Précis: The British Columbia Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal against a finding by the trial judge that the owner of a houseboat met the standard of care in connection with injuries caused by a snapped mooring stake and rope.

Facts: The appellant appealed a decision dismissing her negligence action against the respondents’ houseboat company after she suffered injuries caused by a snapped mooring rope and stake which anchored the houseboat she was on. The issue was whether the respondents were negligent in the selection of the mooring rope for use to moor houseboats. The appellant argued that under Article 3 of the Athens Convention the respondents were presumed negligent, that the trial judge did not apply the test for remoteness of damage, and that the judge made palpable and overriding errors of fact.

Decision: Appeal dismissed.

Held: The Court of Appeal agreed with the trial judge’s finding as a fact that the respondents satisfied the standard of care. The respondents’ reliance on a reputable, third-party supplier of the mooring rope was reasonable. The Court of Appeal also held that there was no evidence to show the respondents knew or ought to have known the rope was unsuitable for its purpose. The Court of Appeal further agreed with the trial judge that there was no duty on the respondents to consult an engineer or other marine specialist with respect to the rope before using it to moor houseboats. On those holdings, the Court of Appeal did not find it necessary to comment on the application of the Marine Liability Act or the remoteness of damage arguments.