Court of Appeal Dismisses Oshawa Appeal of 2010 Deering Judgment

Teenaged sisters were left permanently disabled due to dangerous road condition

Toronto, June 7, 2012 – The Court of Appeal for Ontario has dismissed an appeal by the City of Oshawa in the long-running and high-profile saga of Deering vs. the City of Oshawa, and today released its reasons. Port Perry sisters, Erica Deering, 16 and Shannon Deering, 19 suffered catastrophic spinal cord injuries and were left permanently disabled after a car accident in 2004. The accident occurred on Coates Road, Oshawa when their vehicle left the road during a trip to the movies

An original Superior Court of Justice judgment from 2010 found the city two-thirds at fault because of a lack of road markings and a failure to post speed limit signage on the road.  The original decision cleared the way for the sisters to seek damages from the city.

In that judgment, Justice Peter Howden found “the condition on the accident hill was a hidden danger requiring remedial action by way of line markings and speed reduction warnings.” He also commented on Oshawa’s re-opening the road after re-surfacing, as follows: “Oshawa did nothing to ensure that the road was not re-opened to the public without the safety/slash traffic control device assessment and necessary installations that should reasonably have flowed from it being put in place.”

The total claims by Shannon Deering and Erica Deering are in excess of $30,000,000.

The city later decided to appeal the decision that found it at fault. Appeals Court judges today released their reasons for dismissing the appeal. Shannon Deering, the driver of the Deering vehicle was represented by Roger Oatley of Oatley, Vigmond, and Erica Deering was represented by Dale Orlando of McLeish Orlando.

In today’s appeal ruling, Justices Goudge, Macpherson and Cronk, JJ.A.stated “Put simply, at the crest of the subject hill, even a prudent driver facing nighttime eastbound traffic would have only seconds to react to an apparently directly oncoming car on a narrow, unlit, unmarked and unsigned rural road. Accordingly, the trial judge’s finding that the road was in a state of non-repair and his conclusion that the municipalities were at fault for the non-repair were entirely reasonable.”

“The dismissal of the City of Oshawa’s appeal clears the way for these two lovely young women to move forward with their lives,” said Roger Oatley of Oatley, Vigmond Personal Injury Lawyers LLP.  “They have waited a long time for closure” he added

“The Deering family can feel secure with the knowledge that they will receive the compensation they need to secure their future,” said Dale Orlando of McLeish Orlando.

Details of discussions around damages to be paid by the city are currently confidential. The dismissal of the city’s appeal brings a measure of finality to a long and heart-wrenching process for Shannon and Erica Deering.

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