News & Views

The Law has Ruined my Life… Sort of! - Part 1: Enjoyment of Childhood Cartoons
August 13, 2019

The Law has Ruined my Life… Sort of! - Part 1: Enjoyment of Childhood Cartoons

Written by Raffaele Sparano 

Let me preface this piece by saying that, despite the title, I actually like the Law and the life it has given me – it's just that it happens to ruin certain aspects of said life.

Like most of you, I grew up with certain TV shows that were (and are still) near and dear to my heart – cartoons! 

To be honest, I STILL watch cartoons - not only the ones I grew up with, but also new ones (including adult themed and amazingly offensive ones, like ‘Rick and Morty’ for example – if you haven’t watched it, do it … unless you get easily offended, then DO NOT WATCH IT!).

Unfortunately, some of the ones I grew up with have been ruined by the Law and the change in perspective and potential realization it has caused in me when I now watch those same cartoons.

Some of the first cartoons I watched and loved were the “Looney Tunes” and “Merrie Melodies” (even thought they came out WAY before I was born – I’m not THAT old)!  I loved the antics of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Wile E Coyote and the rest growing up.

But those same antics I now, sadly, view through the unfortunate lens of the Law.

I used to laugh at Wile E. Coyote’s excessive (and ultimately inadequate) attempts to catch the Road Runner (always hoping he would eventually catch that lousy bird – so smug with his stupid grin, hops and “meep meep” … but I digress) using an endless supply of ACME products, but now I see, attempted murder and aggravated assault (but clearly with a defence of provocation … I really hate that bird and want him to get what’s coming to him … sorry, sorry, I’ll stop now), speeding and other Highway Traffic Act violations, and product liability and negligence.

I used to chuckle at Pepe Le Pew’s enamoured affections for Penelope Pussycat, but now I see sexual harassment and sexual assault (I mean, seriously, what was up with Pepe?!).

I used to giggle at Porky Pig’s stutter and Sylvester’s lisp, but now I see discrimination and Human Rights offences.

I used to be entertained by the working relationship between Sam Sheepdog and Wile E. Coyote (that guy just can’t catch a break), as well as Barnyard Dog and Foghorn Leghorn, but now I see workplace harassment and poisoned work environments.

I used to be amused by Speedy Gonzales and Slowpoke Rodriguez, but now I see public intoxication and illicit drug use and possession.

I used to be blissfully ignorant, but now my eyes have been forced wide open … by the Law.

But, hey, I will still let my kids watch the same cartoons I did and hope that they love them the way I did.

I just won’t let the Law ruin it for them … that’s my job!

For more information on the matter, please contact Raffaele Sparano at [email protected] or 905 763 3770 x241.

*The material provided in this article is for general information purposes only. It is not intended to provide legal advice or opinions of any kind. 


About the Author:

Raffaele Sparano's primary area of practice is in commercial litigation which encompasses numerous areas of law, including employment, debtor/creditor, bankruptcy, contractual and commercial breaches, shareholder and partner disputes, intellectual property, tort and negligence, construction liens, franchise, estates and residential and commercial tenancies.

Neighbours, Trees and Dog Poop
July 24, 2019

Neighbours, Trees and Dog Poop

Written by Philip Polster

Back in law school we were treated to the folksy yet brilliantly written judgments of Lord Denning, arguably one of the most influential and revered jurists of our time. Not only was he a brilliant judge, he was a master story teller, whose judgments were both intellectually stimulating as well as thoroughly entertaining. Anyone who went to law school is likely to  remember the opening words of Lord Denning’s seminal decision in the case of Lloyds Bank v Bundy, dealing with the issue of undue influence:

“Broadchalke is one of the most pleasing villages in England. Old Herbert Bundy was a farmer there. His home was at Yew Tree Farm. It went back for 300 years. His family had been there for generations. It was his only asset. But he did a very foolish thing. He mortgaged it to the bank. Up to the very hilt.”

And who can forget Lord Denning’s judgment in “The Cricket Case”, Miller v Jackson [1977] QB 966 (for a good chuckle, see the lengthy excerpt at the end of this article).

Two cases in recent years have made me smile in the same way as I did while reading Lord Denning’s decisions. They both happened to be penned by Justice Ed Morgan of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

Firstly there was the decision of Justice Morgan in Morland-Jones v. Taerk, [2014] O.J. No. 2376. The decision begins with the words:

“The parties to this action live across the road from each other in Toronto's tony Forest Hill neighbourhood. The video footage played at the hearing shows that both families live in stately houses on a well-manicured, picturesque street. They have numerous high end automobiles parked outside their homes.“

Justice Morgan goes on to describe a war between wealthy neighbours, with dog poop being deposited by one into the other’s garbage can (oh, the horror), video taping and voice recording each others’ activities, and parking in a LEGAL spot in front of the other’s house. For this, they went to court.

In a beautifully written decision Justice Morgan concluded (with tongue firmly planted in cheek) as follows:

“In my view, the parties do not need a judge; what they need is a rather stern kindergarten teacher…

There is no claim for pooping and scooping into the neighbour's garbage can, and there is no claim for letting Rover water the neighbour's hedge. Likewise, there is no claim for looking at the neighbour's pretty house, parking a car legally but with malintent, engaging in faux photography on a public street, raising objections at a municipal hearing, walking on the sidewalk with dictaphone in hand, or just plain thinking badly of a person who lives nearby.”

The second case was a recent decision by Justice Morgan in Allen v. MacDougall, 2019 OREG para. 59,343.

The case involved a neighbour dispute over whether or not to remove a tree that straddled the boundary between both properties. To quote Justice Morgan’s opening line:

"What could be more Canadian than Toronto neighbours arguing about building an addition on a house? Home owners arguing about a maple tree, of course."

Justice Morgan goes on to conduct a thoughtful analysis of the applicable law of nuisance, and in a clear and concise judgment decided that the tree must stay.

Sometimes a well written judgment just makes for good reading – whether you’re a lawyer or not.

For more information on the matter, please contact Philip Polster at [email protected] or at 905 763 3770 x 210.

*The material provided in this article is for general information purposes only. It is not intended to provide legal advice or opinions of any kind.

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Miller v Jackson [1977] QB 966  - In summertime village cricket is the delight of everyone. Nearly every village has its own cricket field where the young men play and the old men watch. In the village of Lintz in County Durham they have their own ground, where they have played these last 70 years. They tend it well. The wicket area is well rolled and mown. The outfield is kept short. It has a good club house for the players and seats for the onlookers. The village team play there on Saturdays and Sundays. They belong to a league, competing with the neighbouring villages. On other evenings after work they practise while the light lasts. Yet now after these 70 years a judge of the High Court has ordered that they must not play there any more. He has issued an injunction to stop them. He has done it at the instance of a newcomer who is no lover of cricket. This newcomer has built, or has had built for him, a house on the edge of the cricket ground which four years ago was a field where cattle grazed. The animals did not mind the cricket. But now this adjoining field has been turned into a housing estate. The newcomer bought one of the houses on the edge of the cricket ground. No doubt the open space was a selling point. Now he complains that when a batsman hits a six the ball has been known to land in his garden or on or near his house. His wife has got so upset about it that they always go out at week-ends. They do not go into the garden when cricket is being played. They say that this is intolerable. So they asked the judge to stop the cricket being played. And the judge, much against his will, has felt that he must order the cricket to be stopped: with the consequence, I suppose, that the Lintz Cricket Club will disappear. The cricket ground will be turned to some other use. I expect for more houses or a factory. The young men will turn to other things instead of cricket. The whole village will be much the poorer. And all this because of a newcomer who has just bought a house there next to the cricket ground.


About the Author:

Philip Polster is a civil litigator with more than 30 years of litigation experience. Phil’s practice includes debt collection and a wide range of general contract and tort litigation.

Identifying issues, evaluating options and providing clear advice, he helps clients make informed business decisions. He focuses on minimizing risk and finding timely, practical solutions to business disputes.