Lonely Oak

Lonely Oak

Friday, January 10, 2014

Tingle voltage appeal dismissed by Ontario Court of Appeal

The Court of Appeal for Ontario has upheld the dismissal of a damage claim by dairy farmers who alleged tingle voltage or stray voltage as the cause of reduced milk production.  The trial judge accepted the expert evidence of the claimants that tingle voltage could cause the type of harm alleged, but found that it was not the cause in this case.  The Court of Appeal noted:

"The trial judge considered the whole of the evidence and importantly found that if tingle voltage had been the cause of the reduced milk production from 1997 forward, there would have been overt signs on the herd. He concluded that the evidence did not demonstrate such signs and accordingly the appellants had not established that the herd was being affected by tingle voltage. In his view, milk production had been relatively good in 1995 and 1996 and declined thereafter and there was no change in the hydro system that could account for the changes after 1997."

While the trial judge had found that Hydro One had breached the standard of care in failing to give adequate warning to farmers about the possible harms caused by tingle voltage, the lack of causation between the tingle voltage and the loss of milk production was fatal to the claim.  The trial judge found that the only cause of milk production loss proven on a balance of probabilities was inadequate labour, and the Court of Appeal declined to interfere with this finding.

Read the decision at: Cowan v. Hydro One Networks Inc.