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Supreme Court sides with Maple Leaf Foods in case sparked by tainted meat recall

OTTAWA — A Supreme Court of Canada ruling has dealt a blow to Mr. Sub franchisees in their quest for compensation over losses experienced during a Listeria outbreak.

In a decision today, the top court says Maple Leaf Foods did not owe the submarine sandwich outlets a duty of care under the law.

Mr. Sub franchisees began a class-action lawsuit against Maple Leaf, claiming injury to reputation and economic losses, after the 2008 outbreak sparked a national recall that left them short of meat products for six to eight weeks.

Following certification of the class action in an Ontario court, Maple Leaf requested dismissal of certain claims on the basis that it owed no duty of care to the class.

A judge ruled that Maple Leaf owed the franchisees a duty to supply a product fit for human consumption, and that the contaminated meat products posed a real and substantial danger, amounting to a duty of care.

The Ontario Court of Appeal overturned the decision, finding a duty to supply a fit product was owed to franchise customers, not to the franchise operators themselves.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 6, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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