Reasonable vs. Reckless Drivers – The Ontario Court of Appeal decision in Morsi v. Fermar Paving Limited

The Ontario Court of Appeal released the reasons for its decision today in Morsi v. Fermar Paving Limited, 2011 ONCA 577. 

A unanimous Court of Appeal overturned the trial decision of the Honourable Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy, and upheld the fundamental legal principle that Municipalities in Ontario are not insurers of drivers on the highway, and that the limit of the duty of care to maintain their roads under s.44 of the Municipal Act, 2001, is found where a driver’s conduct is held to be reckless as opposed to merely negligent.

The Morsi decision by the Ontario Court of Appeal is an important re-affirmation of the rule/test that the road must only be kept in such a reasonable state of repair by the municipal road authority, that those requiring to use it, may, exercising ordinary care, travel upon it with safety.

It also stands for the proposition that at common-law, it is not reasonably forseeable that drivers will engage in reckless behavior. 

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