Brain Injury Case Too Complicated for Jury

The Ontario Superior Court recently struck a Jury Notice in a brain injury case on the basis that the calculation of damages would require counsel to educate the Jury with respect to the contested science around brain injuries.

Joseph Foniciello was rear-ended and suffered a serious brain injury. He then sued both the driver of the vehicle that struck him and the road crew that was in the course of repainting the roadway when the accident happened. The Defendant driver settled his part of the case with Foniciello, but the Trial proceeded against the roadway marking company.

At the start of the Trial, the Plaintiff moved to strike the Jury. The Court noted that it would be “a formidable task” to educate the jurors on complicated issues of neuroscience and interpreting and assessing the tests the various experts had administered. The Judge noted that in the case of a complex brain injury, it would be necessary “for the Jury to acquire a proper foundation of knowledge, and then use that knowledge to assess the evidence of competing experts.”

Considering all of the factors, including the difficulty of assessing Foniciello’s credibility given the nature of his brain injury and his documented lack of insight into his own neurocognitive deficits, the Trial Judge concluded that the matter should not proceed to an assessment of damages with the Jury. However, it is important to note that the Trial Judge split the case and allowed the question of liability to be tried by the Jury.

This is an important case that thoroughly canvasses the law related to striking a Jury. However, it also highlights the likelihood that a Motion to strike the Jury can result in a bifurcated Trial where the Jury determining liability will not hear any of the evidence about the seriousness of the Plaintiff’s brain injury.

The case can be found under the citation Foniciello v. Bendall [2014] ONSC 2204 (CanLii).

For more information, please contact D. Joel Dick at 416-572-3516 or by email or Michael J. Henry at 416-361-0889, or by email at

Share Brain Injury Case Too Complicated for Jury

Recent Blog Posts

Recent News

Upcoming Events

Among the best in Canada

Since 2011, our peers have consistently voted for us as one of Canada’s top personal injury firms in Canadian Lawyer magazine’s annual rankings of the top personal injury boutiques in Canada.

Howie, Sacks & Henry LLP – Personal Injury Law – Canadian Lawyer Magazine 2023

Tell us what happened

Our team of highly-trained lawyers are here to listen and help.