Jeffrey Michael Patrick Cline v. Susan Elizabeth (Drummond) Johnson, et al.

(Ontario) (Civil) (By Leave)


Torts — Nuisance — Neighbours making competing claims of nuisance — Court awarding respondents damages — Whether interests of homeowner in recording events in and around his or her own home should not invade privacy of others — Whether applicant has right to be free from intrusion by surveillance conducted by neighbours — Whether Court of Appeal decision creates dangerous precedent — Whether Court of Appeal merely deferred to trial judge’s findings of fact and dismissed appeal without any analysis of law concerning tort of nuisance or tort of invasion of privacy.


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The Mr. Cline and Mr. and Ms. Johnson own neighbouring properties in Kitchener, Ontario. Their backyards are separated by a fence. In the front, they each have a paved driveway that abut each other. The driveways are visually separated by a paved sloped area. The main action was a claim by the Clines for adverse possession of the sloped area. That action was settled before trial by agreement that Ms. Johnson owned the disputed area. What remained for trial was the Johnsons’ counter claim against Mr. Cline for damages for harassment, nuisance, intimidation, invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of mental distress and malicious prosecution and injunctive relief. Mr. Cline counter claimed for damages for invasion of privacy, nuisance and negligence. He also sought injunctive relief against the Johnsons. Mr. Cline’s complaints against the Johnsons included the barking of the Johnsons’ dog, the honking of the horns on their vehicles, slamming of the doors on their vehicles and their home, parking too close to or on his driveway, trespass to his property, snow clearing onto Mr. Cline’s property, and the position of four video surveillance cameras mounted on the Johnsons’ home. The Johnsons complained of Mr. Cline’s intimidating and threatening behaviour. The trial judge awarded the Johnsons damages and granted them injunctive relief. Mr. Cline’s counter claim was dismissed. This decision was upheld on appeal.

Lower Court Rulings

June 27, 2018
Ontario Superior Court of Justice

C-650-13, 2017 ONSC 3916
Respondents awarded damages for tort of nuisance and mental distress and granted injunctive relief; Applicant’s counter claim dismissed
March 7, 2019
Court of Appeal for Ontario

C64112, 2019 ONCA 188
Applicant’s appeal dismissed