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Case Update: Alberta’s Highest Court Hears Appeal in Calf-Roping Fatality Case – Decision Reserved

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In December 2012, we posted a blog outlining the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench decision in R v. Technologies Inc. 2012 ABQB 549 in a fatal accident case involving the use of a “calf roping” machine at a Stampede party event hosted by XI Technologies Inc. (“XI”) in 2007.  A software developer who was helping operate the machine was struck in the head by a steel lever and later died from his injuries. 

The Court of Queen’s Bench overturned two “not guilty” verdicts holding that the employer had not raised a successful due diligence defence and that the preventative measures which were adopted by the employer to respond to the hazard were inadequate considering the risk such that the machine ought to have been removed from service.  XI had been granted permission from Alberta’s highest court, the Court of Appeal, to appeal those convictions.    

The Alberta Court of Appeal heard argument on June 13, 2013.  The Decision was reserved.  We expect that the Court of Appeal’s reasons will be of significant importance to employers as we anticipate that the law in respect of the degree of hazard analysis and identification that must be taken and the corresponding level of precautions or preventative steps that must be implemented will be clarified.

Stay tuned.

This article was written by Lindsay Mullen and Jennifer Shepherd.