Unwilling father ‘can’t sue mother’
March 3, 2017 4 comments
A doctor who became a father after a brief affair cannot sue the mother for ‘emotional harm’, a Canadian court has declared.
The Toronto resident had taken his case to the Ontario Court of Appeal after the city’s Superior Court dismissed his claim for more than CA $4 million (£2.43 million) in damages for ‘fraudulent misrepresentation’.
According to reports, he and the mother – referred to in court documents only as ‘PP’ and ‘DD’ – had a relationship for approximately two months in 2014. DD told the doctor that she was using contraception – but then texted him shortly after the relationship ended to announce that she was pregnant.
The doctor insisted that suddenly being thrust into the role of father had caused him emotional harm and prevented him from making his own choices.
In the statement of his claim, he wrote that he had “wanted to meet a woman, fall in love, get married, enjoy his life as husband with his wife and then, when he and his wife thought the time was `right,’ to have a baby.”
The unwanted child would harm him financially he insisted.
The Judge who heard his case at the Superior Court said he had no grounds on which to sue the mother and also banned any identification of the couple in media reports, to protect their children from one day reading the “salacious and ignobly pleaded” case.
The Ontario Court of Appeal has now backed that decision. Justice Paul Rouleau declared:
“I see no basis on which to impose liability on the mother for any net negative impact (he) may consider that he has suffered due to his having fathered the child.”
A damages award would be contrary, he continued, to a general move away from finding fault or considering intention in family law cases. Claims for ‘fraudulent misrepresentation’ could only to financial loss, he explained. Emotional distress did not count as a quantifiable loss and the deception had not resulted in any physical injury.
The Justice acknowledged the man had not fully consented to the sexual encounter in question because he had believed she was using contraception but noted that he had not objected on that basis, only on the issue of parenthood.
“The damages consist of the appellant’s emotional upset, broken dreams, possible disruption to his lifestyle and career, and a potential reduction in future earnings, all of which are said to flow from the birth of a child he did not want.”
Photo of Toronto by Ian Muttoo via Wikipedia under a Creative Commons licence
March 3, 2017
Categories: Family Law