The plaintiff claims: a. a declaration that his rights under s. 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and
Freedoms have been infringed by some, all, or some combination of the employees of Her Majesty in right of Ontario referred to below; b. c. general and special damages in the amount of $1 million from all defendants; aggravated, punitive and penal damages in the amount of $100,000.00 from each
of the defendants; d. damages in the amount of $100,000.00 pursuant to s. 24(1) of the Charter of
Rights and Freedoms for the breach of his right to life, liberty and security of the person from Her Majesty in right of Ontario; e. pre-judgment interest in accordance with the Courts of Justice Act, RSO 1990, c-
43, as amended; f. g. the costs of this action on a substantial indemnity basis; and such further and other relief as the circumstances as the circumstances of the case
requires and the court deems just.
The plaintiff lives in the City of Toronto in the Province of Ontario.
The defendants Robert Ford ("Ford"), Payman Aboodowleh ("Aboodowleh") and Aedan
Petros ("Petros") live in the City of Toronto in the Province of Ontario.
Metro West Detention Centre ("MWDC") is a correctional facility established and
operated pursuant to the Ministry of Correctional Services Act.
4 5. The defendant Her Majesty the Queen in right of Ontario as represented by the Minister
of Correctional Services ("HMQ") operates MWDC, and is vicariously liable for the tortious conduct of its employees, as described in this claim.
In January 2012, the plaintiff was charged with uttering a threat against Ford, as
described below. He was detained at MWDC pending trial.
The plaintiff is the estranged common-law spouse of Kathy Ford, who is the sister of the
defendant Ford. Thus, the plaintiff and Ford have known each other for a number of years and the plaintiff is familiar with Ford's habits and lifestyle.
At the time of the events in issue in this proceeding, the defendants Ford, Aboodowleh
and Petros were known to each other: (a) Ford was the coach of a high-school football team at Don Bosco Catholic
Secondary School. (b) (c) Aboodowleh was an assistant coach of the team. Petros had been a player on the team.
Ford is a municipal politician of considerable notoriety. In 2010, he ran for the office of
mayor of Toronto.
In addition to playing on the Don Bosco football team, Petros had participated very
actively in Ford's election campaign, and was literally front and centre on the stage when Ford announced his candidacy.
5 11. After the events giving rise to this claim, there were widely published allegations that
Ford abused alcohol and illicit drugs, and that he associated with criminal elements.
When the plaintiff was charged with uttering a threat against Ford however, the
allegations concerning Ford's drug and alcohol abuse and his association with criminal elements were not widely known. Ford was anxious that these matters should remain undiscovered.
In particular, Ford's drug and alcohol abuse, and his association with criminals to
facilitate his drug abuse, and drug abuse on the part of his family members, are longstanding.
Prior to 2013, these matters were largely unreported in the media and were unknown to
most members of the public.
All of this was however, known to the plaintiff, by reason of his common-law
relationship with Kathy Ford and the extensive time he spent with Ford in his house, and at other family and social events.
On or about January 11, 2012, the plaintiff was involved in a verbal altercation with Ford
at Ford's home in Toronto. The plaintiff was attempting to recover a debt owed to him by Kathy Ford, and he sought repayment from Ford. Ford called police and reported that the plaintiff had threatened him.
The plaintiff left Ford's residence before police arrived. As he was leaving, he stated to
Ford that Ford should be careful about how he treated the plaintiff because the plaintiff knew things about Ford and his family which had not been made public. Ford understood the plaintiff
6 to be referring to Ford's (and members of his family’s) use of illicit drugs and association with criminals.
The plaintiff was subsequently charged with uttering a threat against Ford and was
incarcerated in the MWDC.
While he was in jail, the plaintiff wrote a letter to Kathy Ford on or about January 27,
2012. The letter came to Ford's attention and he understood it to be a threat by the plaintiff to disclose Ford's drug and alcohol abuse and association with criminals.
Ford became highly agitated that the plaintiff might disclose Ford's unsavoury activities.
Accordingly, he conspired with Aboodowleh to send a firm message to the plaintiff to prevent him from doing so. In particular, as set out below, Ford and Aboodowleh conspired to have the plaintiff threatened, and subsequently brutally beaten, while he was incarcerated in MWDC.
Part of a meeting at which Ford and Aboodowleh conspired to harm the plaintiff was
recorded and a video recording of the meeting was subsequently published on the Internet. In that incident, which took place in Aboodowleh's house, Ford became extremely agitated and Ford and Aboodowleh discussed plans to have the plaintiff beaten or killed. This meeting occurred shortly before March 19, 2012.
Long before the plaintiff was incarcerated in MWDC, Petros and another ex-member of
the Don Bosco football team named Rexford Williams found themselves in custody at MWDC. They were being held pending trial on numerous charges after they jointly engaged in a violent home invasion, in which they severely beat their victim and slashed him with a knife.
7 23. Shortly after the plaintiff was incarcerated in MWDC, Ford and Aboodowleh agreed that
one or both of them would contact Petros and Williams for the purposes set out below.
Ford and Aboodowleh were acquainted with Petros and Williams because of their
participation in high-school football activities, and because of Petros's participation in Ford's election campaign.
While in custody at MWDC, Petros was held in range 1B. Williams was held in range
MWDC has a well-established practice of placing prisoners who are older than the
general population, or calmer and more mature in open range 3A. There is an established practice of placing younger prisoners and prisoners who are more prone to violent and disruptive behaviour in ranges on the first and second floor.
At the time of the events in question, the plaintiff was 46 years old. He had been
previously incarcerated at MWDC and had an established record as a calm and orderly prisoner. On all previous occasions when incarcerated at MWDC he had been placed in range 3C, pursuant to the practice described above. On this occasion, he was initially incarcerated in range 2C, for the first time.
Upon arriving in custody, the plaintiff was repeatedly threatened by other inmates to
"keep his mouth shut" and "do the right thing" or suffer serious consequences. Petros and Williams communicated these threats to the plaintiff directly, and through other inmates.
8 29. Shortly after the plaintiff arrived in custody, MWDC staff discovered the letter that the
plaintiff wrote to Kathy Ford (described at paragraph 19 above). As a result, the plaintiff was placed in segregated confinement for approximately two weeks. When he was returned to the general prison population, MWDC employees placed him back on range 2C.
This was contrary to MWDC's ordinary practice that prisoners who are released from
segregation are not ordinarily returned to the range where they were held before being placed in segregation.
The threats that are described above began almost immediately upon the plaintiff's
admission to MWDC, and continued as soon as he was released from segregation.
The threats were made by Petros and Williams and others acting on their behalf.
The plaintiff became fearful that he was in jeopardy of serious harm. He brought the
threats to the attention of various MWDC staff, whose identity is known to some or all of the defendants and not known to the plaintiff. He repeatedly asked to be placed in range 3A, and when this was consistently refused, he asked to be placed back in segregation.
This request was granted; however at or around the time the plaintiff was placed back in
segregation, a supervisory employee who is known to plaintiff only as Captain Cordoza directed that the plaintiff was not to be placed in range 3A when he emerged from segregation. Written instructions to this effect were recorded on the plaintiff's file. There was no bona fide reason for doing this.
9 35. The plaintiff was held in segregated detention for several days, but was discharged to the
general population and lodged in open range 1B, where Petros was being held.
The threats by Petros resumed. He repeatedly threatened the plaintiff that he would
suffer dire consequences if he did not remain quiet about the substance abuse and criminal activities of Ford and members of Ford’s family.
The plaintiff continued to report the threats to staff of MWDC. No steps were taken to
protect the plaintiff.
On or about March 22, 2012, Petros and another unknown inmate or inmates, or some
combination of the foregoing, attacked the plaintiff outside the shower facility in range 1B. In particular, the plaintiff was severely and brutally beaten by three assailants.
The plaintiff sustained serious and permanent injuries that required him to be hospitalized
and subsequently placed in convalescent care. The plaintiff's left tibia and fibula were severely fractured, and he sustained facial lacerations and severe dental damage. Four or more of his teeth were sheared at the gum line.
MWDC correctional officers ordinarily monitor the shower area, where the plaintiff was
assaulted, by video and direct visual observation. Nobody came to the plaintiff's aid. The video surveillance had been inexplicably disabled before the plaintiff was assaulted, and the guards stationed to observe the area did not respond for reasons which have never been explained.
Following the assault, MWDC employees did not give the plaintiff appropriate and
necessary care. In particular, despite the extensive and serious nature of his injuries, the plaintiff
10 was not transported to hospital until 36 hours after the assault. The plaintiff's pain and suffering was seriously aggravated by the delay in providing proper medical care. In addition, the delay caused complications in treating the injuries themselves.
The plaintiff was transported to the Etobicoke General Hospital on March 23, 2012. He
required emergency surgery, but as a result of the delay in transporting the plaintiff to hospital, his injured leg had become badly swollen and inflamed, which significantly heightened the risks associated with the surgery. The plaintiff was advised of both the need for surgery, and the heightened risks resulting from the failure of MWDC to transport him to hospital in a timely manner. The plaintiff gave his consent and surgery was performed approximately eight days after he was admitted.
The plaintiff remained in custody of the Ministry of Correctional Services for about six
months following the initial emergent treatment of his injuries in hospital. During this time, the plaintiff received inadequate care and treatment for the injuries to his leg, and no care or treatment whatsoever for the injuries to his face and teeth. As a result of the failure of Ministry employees to arrange for appropriate care for the plaintiff, he suffered further damages, including a prolonged, painful and incomplete convalescence, permanent disfigurement, and other complications including infection.
Although the plaintiff's teeth were broken and knocked out in the assault on March 23,
2012, no steps were taken to arrange dental care for almost two months after the attack. The plaintiff suffered extreme pain as a result, and the injuries became impossible to treat, or in the alternative, became considerably more difficult to treat.
11 45. On or about June 13, 2012, the plaintiff came before the Ontario Court of Justice for
sentencing, following a guilty plea on the threatening charge referred to above. On being apprised of the plaintiff's circumstances, including the assault of March 22, 2012 and the lack of proper care afforded by the Ministry employees, the court correctly inferred that the plaintiff was attacked because he had been a bother to Ford and his family.
The plaintiff was released from custody on September 23, 2012. He has since suffered
ongoing pain and discomfort from his injuries and the inadequate care he received while incarcerated. The plaintiff is disabled and has not received appropriate treatment for the injuries to his teeth. Liability of the MWDC and the Ministry
The MWDC staff was responsible for the security and safety of the plaintiff while he was
in its custody. The MWDC failed to protect the plaintiff's safety and security of the person.
Persons employed by the MWDC knew or ought to have known that the plaintiff was
exposed to serious threats of personal harm because of the threats that were made to him and communicated to MWDC. In particular, the plaintiff was notoriously pursued and threatened while in the custody of MWDC; the plaintiff sought protection and segregation from such threats from MWDC staff; and the plaintiff was nevertheless placed in proximity to known associates of Ford who had threatened the plaintiff on behalf of Ford. There was no response or no adequate response to the plaintiff's justified concern for his safety.
12 49. Persons employed by the MWDC, whose identity is known to the defendants but not
known to the plaintiff, intentionally or negligently facilitated the attack on the plaintiff by intentionally or negligently failing to assess the risk of the plaintiff being assaulted, and by failing to ensure that the surveillance of the area in which the plaintiff was assaulted was properly functioning, and by refusing to lodge the plaintiff in range 3C.
Persons employed by the MWDC intentionally or negligently failed to properly
investigate the attack on the plaintiff, thereby prejudicing the plaintiff's ability to successfully pursue a claim against his assailants and/or their co-conspirators.
Persons employed by the MWDC intentionally or negligently failed to arrange for
appropriate and timely care and treatment of the plaintiff, thereby aggravating his injuries and causing him to suffer additional harm.
In the alternative, persons employed by the MWDC, whose identity is known to the
defendants but not known to the plaintiff, conspired with one or more of the defendants to facilitate the attack on the plaintiff by agreeing to place the plaintiff in ranges 1B and 2C.
In the alternative, managerial and other employees of the Ministry of Correctional
Services failed to ensure the plaintiff's safety by negligently failing to provide appropriate supervision and training of MWDC staff, and in failing to provide adequate equipment, facilities and sufficient personnel to ensure the plaintiff's safety while in custody.
13 54. As a result of the conduct of the Ministry and the MWDC employees described above,
the plaintiff has suffered damages, and his rights under s. 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms have been breached.
Liability of Ford, Aboodowleh, and Petros 55. Ford, Aboodowleh, and Petros conspired among themselves and with others whose
identity is known to them but not known to the plaintiff, to arrange for the attack on the plaintiff and to cause him serious harm. In particular, Aboodowleh, acting as Ford's agent and with Ford's explicit or tacit approval, contacted Petros and Williams and instructed them to send a message to the plaintiff, first in the form of threats of physical harm, and then in the form of a brutal assault and battery of the plaintiff.
Ford and Aboodowleh arranged for persons employed by MWDC, whose identity is
known to Ford and Aboodowleh but not known to the plaintiff, to facilitate the exposure of the plaintiff to Petros, and to facilitate the attack on the plaintiff on March 23, 2012, and more particularly, to arrange for the plaintiff’s detention in range 1B, and to ensure that there was no supervision or surveillance of the area where the plaintiff was assaulted.
Petros agreed to and ultimately did carry out the instructions of Ford and Aboodowleh, or
in the alternative arranged for others to do so.
The various matters set out in paragraphs 55 to 57 above and elsewhere in this statement
of claim were the subject of communications between the defendants during visits by Ford and Aboodowleh (or either of these) to MWDC, and on calls and messages sent and received by the defendants on their mobile telephones.
14 59. Ford and Aboodowleh knew that the plaintiff would suffer physical harm as a result of
their actions, which included instructing Petros to send a message to the plaintiff that he should not expose Ford's illicit drug use or his association with criminals.
As a result of the conduct of the defendants, or the conduct of those for whom the
defendants are liable, as set out above, the plaintiff has suffered damages as set out above.
The conduct of the defendants, or those for whom they are vicariously liable, is
sufficiently reprehensible, oppressive and high-handed so as to justify the court's denunciation with an award of exemplary damages, and further justifies penal damages. The plaintiffs propose that this action be tried at Toronto. January 29, 2014 DEWART GLEASON LLP Lawyers Suite 102 – 366 Adelaide Street West Toronto, ON M5V 1R9 Sean Dewart – 26708B Tim Gleason – 43927A (416) 971-8000 (Tel.) (416) 971-8001 (Fax) Lawyers for the Plaintiff