In court what happens if a party makes a nonsense accusation, almost as if they aren't thinking straight? For example if someone launched the case against you "he must have stolen the banana loaf bread because he was wearing a blue shirt and the time was 4:20" would you even need a defense or is there a word for when this happens?

My ex-landlord is withholding all of my damage deposit and the only explanation is a couple of vague text messages saying he had to pay a fine to the ISP due to copyright infringement on a day I was the only one home. I can say a lot about this, but despite my request he has not given me any details or shown me any official documents. So is there a way in court to say "this rebuttal doesn't even deserve consideration?" I can't even prove that I wasn't home on that day as he hasn't specified the day. The way I see things happening is me filing against him for my damage deposit, his defense being he got a fine for (allegedly) my misuse of the internet, what should my rebuttal be in the sense that upon filing against him he had never even provided details?

Even if this was true, a person normally isn't sitting in front of their computer watching a download so just because they weren't home wouldn't mean anything. Plus the landlord is in a different city, and I can show he has held prejudice against me, and would not know I was the only one home. Further, it's my understanding the notices aren't even legally enforceable in Canada.

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    @Dawn I got plaintiff and defendant backwards. It should be: if I go to court to recover my damage deposit and the landlord has a (IMHO) invalid reason for not giving it back to me (eg he received a fine for the internet, but failed to provide any additional details) what would I say/what would this be called?
    – Toofast12
    May 7, 2016 at 9:05
  • Perhaps that the answer lacks merit...
    – Pat W.
    May 7, 2016 at 12:10
  • I think your attempted example (last two paragraphs) detracts from your good question. And your first paragraph doesn't quite apply because you're describing a defense against a crime, which would have to be prosecuted by the state, and prosecutors don't last long if they bring frivolous claims, much less nonsense arguments. How about an example of a truly nonsense accusation that could be brought in small-claims court?
    – feetwet
    May 7, 2016 at 13:36

3 Answers 3


This is confused. If your landlord withholds money from you, it will be you taking him to court and making accusations, which hopefully make sense. You will tell the judge "the landlord should give me that money because ... " and the landlord will say in his defence "No, I shouldn't hand over that money because ..."

If you are taken to court and you think the accusations are stupid, then you will have to put up a defense. In the case you state, you would answer for example "I did not steal any banana bread". You may add that you don't own a blue shirt (if that is true), or that you didn't wear it at 4:20 (if that is true). You state the facts. The judge will determine whether there is enough evidence that you stole the banana bread or not.

If you took your landlord to court, you would state that he owes you money, that there is no reason why he should keep it. He would then state his reason for withholding the money. If you then state "this is so stupid, I won't even respond to this", then it is his word against nothing and whatever facts he claims that you don't contradict are assumed to be true.

PS. If one side claims facts, and the other side doesn't contradict, then these facts become "undisputed facts" and are considered true. However, if one side claims legal conclusions, and the other side doesn't contradict, then the judge should completely ignore the legal conclusions, because legal conclusions are the judge's job and not the plaintiff's or defendant's job. So if your opponent claims "you wore a blue shirt and that proves you stole the banana bread", then the judge should ignore that logical conclusion.

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    Though hopefully in small-claims court the judge would say something like, "OK, we'll accept the landlord's assertion. But I don't understand how that fact supports his stated defense."
    – feetwet
    May 7, 2016 at 13:49
  • In general a landlord has to have evidence supporting the retention of the security deposit, in the absence of which any assertion of "no I shouldn't hand over the money because..." will have no weight.
    – phoog
    Jul 7, 2016 at 7:15

In this specific case there are probably existing legal prohibitions against the landlord doing that, since housing is a highly regulated industry and most jurisdictions have rules that limit circumstances for retaining a damage deposit. Apart from that, you may be looking for the concept "summary judgment", where a judge can render judgment without having a full trial. Summary judgment seems to be newer / less common in Canada that in the US, but see Hrzniak v. Mauldin. As they said, "Summary judgment motions must be granted whenever there is no genuine issue requiring a trial". But the assumption is that there is actually no issue to be resolved at a trial (that is, the facts are clear and the law is clear). If the landlord alleges that your wrongful action caused him a loss, and you dispute that you took any action, then it is almost certain that there would be a trial, to determine what the facts are.

In this circumstance, you are the person who wants something from the court (an order to return your deposit), so the burden is on you to initiate a process and establish that the landlord should return the deposit. You would claim that you caused no damage and therefore he is obligated to return the money, and he would counter-argue that you did cause damage, and ultimately it would come down to a combination of fact (did you do something wrong) and law (is withholding a damage deposit an acceptable remedy).

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    And in certain provinces, there are government-established boards that deal with issues like this before having to go to trial.
    – user3851
    May 7, 2016 at 15:22

The legal term, is to demur to the allegation.

  • And what does that mean? Does "demur" mean sitting together with the judge and having a good laugh at the allegation, or does it mean something else?
    – gnasher729
    May 8, 2016 at 9:53
  • "Plaintiff demurs to the complaint." Plaintiff demurs to the allegations in paragraphs x-y." May 8, 2016 at 13:55
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    Worth noting Black's explanation.
    – feetwet
    May 8, 2016 at 14:52
  • So how does this work in practice? If you demur an allegation is it effectively saying to the Court, "This doesn't even merit further discussion, and we assume the judge will agree without further explanation on our part?" And how does the Court treat a demurral, both in the case that it is allowed, and in the case that the Court judges that more substantial response is due?
    – feetwet
    May 8, 2016 at 16:24
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    @user3344003: You are giving an example sentence. You don't tell us anything useful.
    – gnasher729
    May 10, 2016 at 9:34

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