The trial decision in Onley v. Town of Whitby, 2020 ONSC 20, shows that unfortunate accidents can occur but that no one is liable.
The plaintiff was 18 years old and was playing in a soccer game. She sustained an electric shock as she was sitting near a light pole and she collapsed. She sued the Town of Whitby.
Electric current was leaking from the pole. This was likely caused by a lightning strike which occurred sometime after the spring of 2012 and before the accident in August 2012.
Justice Koke dismissed the lawsuit because the damage to the pole and the resulting injury to the plaintiff were not reasonably foreseeable.
There was no evidence that electric current leakage is a common problem on sports fields or that anyone had ever been shocked or injured due to electric current leaking from a light pole on a sports field.
In any event, Justice Koke stated that the Town did not breach any duty of care.
If liability had been found on the Town, Justice Koke would have awarded damages of just over $180,000. The plaintiff substantially recovered from physical injuries. However, she has PTSD which is largely in remission but will unlikely completely resolve.