Carfra Lawton LLP | Victoria BC

Not all curbs have to be yellow (even if they used to be!)

In 2015, the plaintiff in Herron v. Value Industries Ltd., 2019 BCSC 878 tripped and fell over a sidewalk curb in front of a grocery store, at 8 in the morning. The curb was in the shade of the store building. She suffered injuries in the fall and sued the defendant property manager for damages under the Occupiers Liability Act. She alleged that the defendant was liable because it had stopped painting the curb yellow. The curb had been repainted annually from 2009 to 2014, as the paint flaked off. In 2015, however, the defendant decided to stop painting the curb and instead removed the paint as an aesthetic measure — because it kept flaking off.

The plaintiff’s claim was dismissed on summary trial. The court held that there was nothing unusual about the curb that made it dangerous or unsafe and did not find it to be factually or legally significant that the curb was previously painted yellow. While the plaintiff’s fall was unfortunate, it was not attributable to any breach by the defendant of its obligation under the Occupiers Liability Act to take reasonable steps to make the parking lot safe.

Case summary by Karl Roemer