Marine Services International Ltd. v. Ryan Estate: Supreme Court of Canada Upholds Workplace Litigation Bar
On September 19, 2004 the fishing vessel, Ryan’s Commander, capsized, killing both Joseph and David Ryan who were returning from fishing off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador. Following on the tragedy, the Ryan brothers’ widows and dependents (the “Estate”) sued a number of different parties including companies involved in the design and construction of the vessel (alleging negligence in the design and construction of the Ryan’s Commander) and the Government of Canada (alleging negligence in the inspection of the vessel by Transport Canada). At the time of suit, the Estate had applied for and received compensation under the Newfoundland and Labrador Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Act (the “Workplace Act”) as the death of the Ryan brothers occurred in a workplace context. The Workplace Act had a litigation bar which was designed to prevent employees from suing their employers, or other employers or workers, within the compensation system for work-related injuries or death.