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Jul 25, 2019

Charlesfort Developments Awarded $4.5 Million in Damages in Lawsuit with the City of Ottawa

Timothy J. Hill, N. Jane Pepino, Mark van Zandvoort, Angela Swan and Dillon Collett

Charlesfort Developments Ltd., represented by litigation lawyers Tim Hill, Jane Pepino and Mark van Zandvoort, with research support from Angela Swan and Dillon Collett, has been successful in its lawsuit brought against the City of Ottawa regarding a land use planning matter related to a new condominium development.

In this case, heard before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Justice Sally Gomery determined that the City of Ottawa failed to take reasonable steps to ensure that Charlesfort was aware of the potential risks associated with a high pressure water main in a municipal easement running alongside the property it proposed to develop when it applied for site-specific rezoning approval in 2004-2005.

It wasn’t until the site plan approval application phase in 2007 that Charlesfort learned about the water main. It was part of the critical infrastructure of the City and its location and condition could give rise to serious risks if construction of the condominium project proceeded as planned. Although Charlesfort was still able to build its proposed condominium tower with an underground garage, it incurred significant losses due to construction modifications and project delays.

The proceeding in connection with this matter included the following issues: (1)  the City’s duty of care to Charlesfort in the context of its application for site-specific rezoning of the proposed property; (2) if the City had a duty of care that included providing accurate and complete information about relevant municipal infrastructure; (3) whether Charlesfort relied on the City’s negligent misrepresentations; (4) whether Charlesfort’s reliance on the City’s representation was reasonable; and (5) did Charlesfort suffer damages as a result of the misrepresentation, and, if so, what were they?

Charlesfort Developments Ltd. was wholly successful in this proceeding and awarded nearly $4.5 million in damages and pre-judgment interest as a result of the City’s negligent misrepresentation.

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