This case was heard in the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia.
The Metsons alleged that their well water had been contaminated by R.W. Dewolfe Ltd. ("DeWolfe"), an agricultural and horticultural company. After DeWolfe “top dressed” (spread animal manure over) farmlands adjacent to the Metsons’ property, heavy weather created a run-off that contaminated the Metsons’ water supply. The Metsons’ sued DeWolfe, relying on the law of strict liability ("the rule in Rylands v. Fletcher").
In turn, DeWolfe argued that “top-dressing” is a common and established practice in animal husbandry and so the case should be determined by the law of negligence, which would excuse DeWolfe from liability if the company had been sufficiently careful. After considering the relevant laws and legal principles, the Court held that the case should not be considered through the law of negligence, but should be determined according to strict liability rule upon which the Metsons had relied. The Court then held in the Metsons' favour.