Proposed settlement denied children compensation for loss of care: Ontario Superior Court

The children's mother sustained catastrophic injuries from a motor vehicle accident

Proposed settlement denied children compensation for loss of care: Ontario Superior Court

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice has rejected a proposed settlement involving minor plaintiffs arising from catastrophic injuries their mother sustained in a motor vehicle accident.

In Obeng v. John Doe, 2024 ONSC 2598, Emma Obeng's children pursued damages for loss of care, guidance, and companionship under the Family Law Act. However, the court found that under the proposed settlement, the children would not receive anything because Obeng’s injuries did not impact her ability to provide care, guidance, and companionship.

The Superior Court highlighted major deficiencies in the materials supporting the motion. The court found no adequate evidence or legal justification for dismissing the minors' claims below the statutory deductible of $23,026.61. The absence of detailed legal arguments and relevant case law undermined the settlement's validity.

Ama Obeng, the litigation guardian and sister to the minors, submitted an affidavit detailing a temporary disruption in Obeng's ability to participate in her children's activities from 2015 to 2018. After 2018, however, she resumed active participation in their lives, contradicting the settlement's claims.

Additionally, a 2019 Catastrophic Impairment Report detailed ongoing severe impairments to Obeng, including moderate to marked impairments in her daily living and social functions, which contradicted assertions of her unimpaired caregiving.

The court criticized the lack of clear case law or statutory references supporting the settlement's assumptions about the value of the claims not meeting the deductible threshold. The court also noted the absence of details about Emma Obeng’s settlement with her insurer, which could have informed the assessment of her children’s claims.

Ultimately, the court dismissed the motion, deeming the settlement unfair and unreasonable, but allowed for the possibility of refiling. The court instructed that any new motion must include a comprehensive, well-structured presentation of materials, including a detailed factum and organized documentation in line with court practices. The court’s decision leaves the door open for further submissions that accurately reflect the full extent of Obeng's impairments and their impact on her children.

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