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Breaking Fraud Cases from Canadian Courts
At Canadian Fraud News, we report on decisions issued by Canadian Courts related to fraud, that are not reported in the main stream media, and that contain legal issues the Canadian public and fraud recovery experts should be aware of. The following is one such story.
On March 2, 2017, the Ontario Court of Appeal released its decision on the usual topic of applying the law of fraud to unplanned pregnancies. A father, a doctor, sued a mother, a health care professional, because she told him that she was using birth control pills, when she was not. The motion judge struck the claim as untenable at law. The Court of Appeal upheld the motion judge’s decision. We provide some of the reasons for this decision.
Facts Giving Rise to the Claim
In May of 2014 PP and DD met and began a romantic relationship. During the relationship PP repeated once more that he’d be happy to wear a condom during intercourse. DD said she preferred intercourse without one. PP and DD engaged in “sexual intercourse that included intravaginal ejaculation.” One may suspect that PP wanted a child fathered by a doctor.
In July of 2014, the two ended their sexual relationship. In August 2014 PP received a text message from DD stating that she was ten weeks pregnant. In March 2015 DD gave birth to a healthy child. Paternity testing confirmed that PP was the father. In July 2015, three months after the child was born, PP commenced action.
DD’s Motion to Strike the Fraud Claim
In Ontario a defendant can ask the Court to dismiss a claim if, assuming the facts plead are true, it is plain and obvious that the claim disclose no reasonable cause of action. The standard to prove a reasonable cause of action is very low, as no evidence is considered. The Court only looks at the facts as plead as if they were true.
The motion Judge ruled that the claim of fraudulent misrepresentation could not be made because PP was only suing based on “a non-pathological emotional shock from becoming a parent.” The Court held that fraudulent misrepresentation is an economic tort meaning that damages are meant to restore a person’s financial circumstance to where it was before the wrong doing.
In other words, the Court held that the tort of fraudulent misrepresentation or fraud could not be used to obtain a judgment for hurt feelings.
The Court of Appeal
The Court of Appeal noted that the central issue was that there were no recoverable damages in a civil fraud case for hurt feelings. In civil law, “fraud without damages gives rise to no cause of action”. In criminal law, however, liability for fraud can arise with the mere risk of loss.
The Court of Appeal noted that the unfortunate experience of emotional upset due to “broken dreams, disruption to lifestyle and career, a reduction in future earnings” resulting from unplanned parenthood is something quite different than receiving a sexually transmitted disease as a result of deceit. The Court also noted that the emotional upset from unplanned parenthood does not relate to a physical or psychiatric illness.
The Court of Appeal canvassed numerous cases dealing with health care provider negligence resulting in unplanned parenthood including botched vasectomies, and to criminal and family law cases, ultimately deciding that Ontario Courts do not grant money awards to raise children:
“The law must take the birth of a normal, healthy baby to be a blessing, not a detriment… It is morally offensive to regard a normal, healthy baby as more trouble and expense than it is worth.”
Full Reasons for Judgment
For the full reasons for judgment, see PP ats DD, 2017 ONCA 180.
You can find our previous breaking court decision here.
For further information on this case, or any other fraud recovery inquiry, contact Canadian Fraud News Inc. at Devin@Canadianfraudnews.com .