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Feb 20, 2015
Services: Real Estate Law

The Dog-poop Dispute

Dog Poop Dispute

The Dog-Poop dispute. 

Only in Toronto could a dispute over dog poop escalate into a lawsuit. Fortunately, the judge assigned to the matter, Justice Morgan, turned out to be the perfect person for the job. His judgment comes down hard on everyone involved. 

The exact circumstances of the lawsuit, brought by oil executive John Morland-Jones and his wife against their neighbours, Gary and Audrey Taerk, are unclear, but Justice Morgan does take a   little time to revisit some highlights. At one point, he writes about the case’s smoking gun: a video, captured by two cameras the Morland-Joneses keep trained on the Taerks’ property at all times, that shows Audrey Taerk picking up a pile of her dog’s poop with a baggie, then placing it in the Morland- Joneses’ garbage bin.

The Morland-Joneses even called in a few neighbours to testify on their behalf. Evidently, none of them were that enthused at the prospect of participating in the dog-poop witch hunt:

Also at issue: the fact that the Taerks sometimes turn their heads in the direction of the Morland- Joneses’ house. In other words, the Morland-Joneses wanted a superior court judge to punish their next-door neighbours for sometimes looking in their direction.

It’s at this point in the judgment that a reader beings to wonder: does Justice Morgan consider this case to have been a reasonable use of court time? And does he believe the Taerks to be blameless? The answer, in both cases, is no:  

What he has done here is hand the win to the Taerks, but only because, in his opinion, the lawsuit (which, remember, was brought by the Morland-Joneses) had no merit to begin with. Rather than order the Morland-Joneses to cover the Taerks’ legal costs, the judge has left the two couples to cover their own legal bills, because that’s the only way he can punish both of them for wasting his time.

And justice is served. 

You can read Justice Morgan’s full judgment right here. 

With many thanks to Toronto Life magazine who originally shared the above story.

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Nathan Douglas Martin

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