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Chocolate, Maggots, and the Power of Ontario Tort Law

In this post, Rod Ferguson, Ontario Injury Lawyer and Certified Specialist in Civil Litigation shares an account of a notable product liability suit.


When you pick up a tasty chocolate bar while waiting in line at the grocery store, most of us don’t give much consideration to the packaging. We take for granted that the contents in that sealed package will be exactly the little indulgence we’re looking for during a long day. What you may not know, is that it wasn’t always this way.

One day, our senior partner purchased a chocolate bar. Like many, his thoughts were more likely about enjoying a chocolaty treat. In those days many chocolate bars were packaged quite simply with a folded foil wrapping slid into a paper sleeve. The packaging was not sealed.
Imagine the shock and utter disgust our partner experienced upon discovering with the first bite, that the delicious bar was contaminated with maggots. So much for the enjoyment of the chocolate bar.

Inadequate Packaging Basis for Ontario Product Liability Lawsuit

We decided to try and do something to have this plainly inadequate packaging corrected and commenced a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer. When the manufacturer was presented with the evidence, the case settled for several thousand dollars. Readers will recall that chocolate bars now come in a sealed pouch-like package not open to access by insects, ensuring your snack stays enjoyable.

Product Liability Lawsuits in Ontario Result in Corrective Action

The corrective action taken by the manufacturer to improve the packaging goes to show the power of Ontario tort law to effect change and protect the health and safety of consumers.

Here is where our story reaches its amusing conclusion. Our partner chose not to keep the proceeds of the successful suit. Coincidentally, he had found the original of a caricature portrait of Supreme Court Justice Gerald Ledain, who had been dean when our senior partner was at Osgoode Hall Law School, and used the proceeds of the litigation to purchase the portrait.

The portrait now is on permanent display outside the current dean’s office at the law school. What better way to say thanks to the law, than such a decoration for a law school!

Our lawyers can answer any questions you may have about your own product liability, civil litigation or personal injury claim.

Read our previous Ontario injury lawyer blog about  product liability and defective product claims


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