An Ontario court recently rejected a man’s allegation of deceit against his ex-girlfriend following their breakup, finding that there is “no legal principle that requires a person to be truthful to their significant other”.

What Happened?

The couple was involved in a romantic relationship and lived together. Their residence was jointly owned, with the girlfriend owning 99% and the boyfriend owning 1%. 

On May 2, 2015, the girlfriend ended the relationship. 

Near the end of August 2015, the couple attempted to reconcile and resumed cohabitation for approximately one month. On September 26, 2015, the girlfriend again terminated the relationship and asked the boyfriend to leave the residence and return his keys. The girlfriend alleged that the boyfriend would not leave and remained in the apartment. She alleged that he was verbally and physically abusive to her, and she managed to escape with her dog. She left her keys and phone behind.

Following this incident, the girlfriend asked one of her friends to assist her in keeping the boyfriend out of her residence and to accompany her to the police, where she intended to report the incident.

A few days later, the girlfriend filed a report with the regional police and advised the police that the boyfriend still had her keys. The police subsequently charged the boyfriend with forcible confinement. He was released on the condition that he not communicate with the girlfriend. 

The charges were eventually not pursued by the police. The jointly-owned residence was sold in 2016, and the boyfriend received 1% of the net proceeds.

In September 2017, the boyfriend commenced an action, seeking a variety of damages, which included general damages of $125,000, special damages, punitive damages of $100,000, “aggregate” damages of $25,000, damages pursuant to s. 24(1) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, damages for lost opportunity and “damages related to MBA degree in the sum to be disclosed at trial.” 

Among his many allegations, the boyfriend made a claim for deception against the girlfriend. He claimed that the girlfriend deceived him when she agreed to resume cohabitation before their final separation. He further claimed this led to “damaging [his] sense of reality and financial loss related to [the girlfriend]’s 31st birthday. The [boyfriend] further states that the [girlfriend] knew or ought to have known that her conduct would cause damage to [the boyfriend]’s psychological well-being and cause him financial strain.”

In response, the girlfriend asked the court to strike this allegation, among others, for disclosing no cause of action, or for being scandalous, frivolous, vexatious or an abuse of process.

Decision

The court stated:

“In essence, [the boyfriend] is suing [the girlfriend] for ending their relationship. I am aware of no legal principle that requires a person to be truthful to their significant other or to not date more than one person at a time. There is no legal principle that prohibits a person from breaking up with their significant other if their significant other has recently spent money on their birthday or if their significant other would be upset by the breakup.”

As a result, the court found the boyfriend’s allegation of deception to be scandalous, as it was a bare allegation. It also found the allegation to be frivolous, as it had no basis in law. Finally, the court found the allegation vexatious, as it was alleged maliciously and without good cause. 

Accordingly, the court ordered the allegation of deceit to be struck from the boyfriend’s statement of claim with no leave to amend.

Get Advice 

At Feigenbaum Law, our goal is to help you move forward following the breakdown of a relationship while retaining as much financial stability as possible and ensuring your children are provided for. Mark Feigenbaum is able to counsel his clients on all potential risks that may result from a family law dispute, not just those related strictly to the breakdown of a marriage. Contact Mark online or call him at (905) 695-1269 or toll-free at (877) 275-4792 to book a consultation.