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B.D.C. Ltd. v. Hofstrand Farms Ltd., [1986] 1 S.C.R. 228 (Link)

Facts:

A courier company (BDC LTD) was contracted by the B.C. government to deliver an envelope to the Registry Office in Prince George. The envelope had to be delivered on time otherwise the plaintiff (Hofstrand Farms) would lose the right to sale land to a third party. The envelope was delivered too late and the plaintiff lost the right to sell the land to the third party and consequently sued the courier company for economic losses flowing from the failure to secure the sale as a result of the late delivery.

Issue(s):

Negligent Performance of a Service: Was there a Duty of Care owed by the courier company to its customer(s)?

Ratio:

If duty of care was extended to the respondent, based on idea that this respondent should be within the reasonable contemplation of the appellant, there would be no logical/practical limitations.

Added reliance component. Uses Hedley Bryne - Finds that there was no reliance of respondent on the appellant based on the representations or undertaking of the appellant.

Duty of Care being applied would lead to a class of plaintiffs being created and leading to a spectra of indeterminate liability. This would be unacceptable.

Analysis:

Court Applied Cooper Anns test but added to foreseeability.

Foreseeability of the Plaintiff? -> No knowledge of the plaintiff or its interests
Proximity? -> There is insufficient proximity according to Justice Estey.
Why? -> Too large of a class of plaintiffs thus creating the spectre of indeterminate liability

Test Failed.

Holding:

Appeal successful. Courier was not held liable for pure economic loss of the plaintiff (respondent) as Duty of Care was not established.


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