Oh, Canada. The phrase takes on a different meaning considering how often the Canadian government screws over its citizens. In their latest instance of legal stupidity, a court ruled that lying about taking birth control is not grounds for a lawsuit:
In upholding an earlier ruling on the case, the Ontario Court of Appeal said the woman’s behaviour was not enough to open her up to the man’s highly unusual claim for damages.
“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,” Justice Paul Rouleau wrote for the court.
That is right. Tricking a man into parenthood and essentially raping him by deceiving him into giving consent under false pretenses should result in zero liability. Go on and lie to get someone to have sex with you. Go on and get pregnant and later sue the man for child support. This is apparently legal in Canada.
As the Justice explained:
Allowing the father to recover damages from the mother for the unwanted birth would run counter to a clear trend in family law to move away from faulting one partner over another, Rouleau said.
That is interesting considering that Canada allows mothers sue sperm donors years after insemination, despite the obvious intent of the man to never have any financial or physical responsibility for the child.
Would that not “run counter to a clear trend in family law to move away from faulting one partner over another”? Or does this only apply to men?
The situation in the current case is simple: the woman claimed she was on birth control and the pair had unprotected sex. After they broke up, the woman texted the man (because calling him would have been too hard) to tell him she was pregnant.
The man sued the woman:
for more than $4 million for fraudulent misrepresentation, arguing he suffered emotional harm from his unplanned parenthood. He claimed DD’s deception over her use of the pill had deprived him of the benefit of choosing when and with whom he would become a dad.
“He 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,” PP said in his statement of claim.
The $4 million suit is ridiculous as it would never be paid. However, given what the man would pay for child support, the amount seems rather tame. And make no mistake, the same system ignoring this clear act of deception would have no problem forcing the man to pay for the child.
In January last year, Superior Court Justice Paul Perell struck the claim without a hearing on its merits after deciding PP had no legal grounds to sue. Perell also banned publication of the couple’s names to protect the child, who might one day discover the “salacious and ignobly pleaded” facts of the case.
Or rather, the judge banned the release of the mother’s name to protect her in case she attempts to rape another man via deception to get pregnant.
Essentially, Perell ruled that fraudulent misrepresentation could only give rise to a claim for financial damages —not for emotional distress. He also decided any emotional harm PP suffered did not amount to a personal injury.
How does discovering you are an unexpected father via deception not cause financial damages? As I noted, this woman is likely to sue for child support. Does that not count?
Secondly, how does one not suffer personal injury from emotional harm? Are one’s emotions not part of a person? Would not damage to one’s emotions damage one’s person? Or does the judge mean physical injury? Is emotional damage prohibited in civil suits?
The judge did concede that the deception was tantamount to rape, but argued that this was immaterial because the suit was about unwanted parenthood.
The man appealed the decision, arguing:
On appeal, PP argued among other things that he should at least have been allowed to take his novel claim to trial, and that he should have been allowed to assert that the unwanted child would harm him financially.
The Appeal Court, however, found that a fraud that causes no loss cannot give rise to a lawsuit for damages, and that PP’s emotional distress didn’t count as a loss. It also said he suffered no physical injury or “pathological” emotional harm.
“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,” the Appeal Court said.
And the fact that this happened as a result of of someone tricking him into unprotected sex simply does not matter. Again, women can sue anonymous sperm donors for child support and win the suit, yet this man cannot even get the court to acknowledge that he is emotionally harmed by being raped by deception and forced into fatherhood. The court took it one step further:
The court, which looked to Britain and the U.S. to find similar cases, also ruled that DD’s deception about her use of the pill did not expose PP to the risk of serious physical injury during sex he willingly took part in. As a result, the court said, DD did not violate PP’s right to physical or sexual autonomy that could be viewed as an assault.
Except he only engaged in the sex under the false notion that the woman was taking birth control. This circumvents his sexual autonomy via the lie. He would not have had sex with her if he knew she could get pregnant. The woman lied in order to get him to have sex. What part of that is not a violation of his sexual autonomy?
The panel also trotted out the potential for pregnancy even when taking the pill. While this can happen, the risk is rather low, particularly if the pill is taken regularly. This argument then makes no sense outside of trying to excuse this woman’s behavior.
The reason the court rejected this suit is because the victim is male. If the situation were reversed, the man would be financially liable for claiming he was infertile or had a vasectomy if that proved untrue.
Of course, Canada has a long history of ignoring men’s rights, so the decision, as idiotic as it is, comes as no surprise.