From: Janet O'Sullivan <>
To: Martin Olszynski <>
Date: 30/11/2015 16:48:11 UTC
Subject: Re: 'But for' or material contribution? Causation problem involving Zoolander

Dear Martin

In this vein, I have always found the movie "Sliding Doors" to be a useful introduction to ideas of factual causation.

Best wishes to everyone as the end of term approaches.


Sent from my iPhone

On 30 Nov 2015, at 16:39, Martin Olszynski <> wrote:

Dear all,

At the beginning of this term, a colleague relied on a (in)famous clip from the film Zoolander (the gasoline fight/explosion) to illustrate the basic elements of a negligence action. Having now come to the end of the fall term, some thoughtful students appear to have sensed that they may have found a case for the proper application of the 'material contribution' test for causation as per the SCC's teaching in Clements v Clements (2012). 

I am inclined to agree but couldn't help thinking that we would benefit from canvassing some of you, so I've included the clip below (starting around the 1:10 minute mark):


Martin Olszynski
Assistant Professor
University of Calgary Faculty of Law