The plaintiff was injured in a motor vehicle accident on Highway 401 and sued the owner and the operator of the vehicle that struck him for damages. The defendants issued a third party claim against the Province of Ontario. Nearly five years after Province delivered its defence, the defendants sought to add the contractor hired by the Province to perform maintenance on the roadway. Justice Muszynski granted leave for issuance of the third party claim. The Province had not pleaded in its statement of defence that it relied on a contractor for maintenance of the subject roadway. Justice Muszynski found that the defendants could not have known about the contractor before they received documentation from the province in 2019 (three years after commencement of the third party reasoclaim against the Province).
The plaintiff, his wife, and their three children were injured in a motor vehicle accident. They all commenced litigation. The plaintiff was driving at the time of the accident, so he had different counsel than his wife and children. The plaintiff initially claimed for only his own injuries/damages. The wife and children claimed for their own injuries and also for damages pursuant to the Family Law Act (FLA). Four years after the accident, the plaintiff brought a motion to amend his claim to include FLA damages. Master Wiebe granted the motion and allowed the amendment. On the defendant’s appeal to a judge of the Superior Court, Justice Cavanagh allowed the appeal and dismissed the underlying motion to amend. Justice Cavanagh’s decision was upheld by the Ontario Court of Appeal. Justice Paciocco, writing for the Court, reasoned that the FLA claim was not merely a claim for additional damages arising from the existing negligence claim and that it was advanced more than two years after the expiry of the applicable limitation period.
The Court of Appeal was asked to interpret s.7(1)(a) of the Limitations Act, 2002, which provides that a two-year limitation period does not run during any time in which the person with the claim is incapable of commencing a proceeding in respect of the claim because of his or her physical, mental or psychological condition. The plaintiff had strangled his child to death while suffering from mental illness and psychotic delusions. He was taking an anti-depressant drug manufactured by the defendant at the time. Almost seven years after the incident, he sued the manufacturer for damages, alleging that the drug had caused or contributed to his psychosis. The defendant brought an unsuccessful motion for summary judgment, arguing that the claim was statute-barred by the Limitations Act, 2002. The motion judge held that the limitation period did not begin to run until the plaintiff received an absolute discharge in the context of the criminal matter, which was less than two years before the civil claim against the manufacturer was issued. On appeal, the Court of Appeal held that the plaintiff was able to appreciate the nature of the potential litigation proceedings, and that the Limitations Act barred his action. The Court of Appeal was compelled by the fact that the plaintiff had instructed numerous criminal and family lawyers in the years before his absolute discharge, and had consulted others regarding the possibiltiy of suing the manufacturer. The appeal was allowed and the underlying action was summarily dismissed.
The plaintiff brought a small claims action against the defendant excavation contractor for damages relating to allegations of negligent design, installation, approval, and inspection of a septic system. The trial judge dismissed the action on the ground that it was statute barred by operation of the Limitations Act, 2002. The trial judge found that a reasonable person would have discovered the claim by a date more than three years before the claim was commenced and reasoned that having made this finding, he was not required to consider when a proceeding was an appropriate means to remedy the claim. The Divisional Court upheld the trial judge’s holding. The defendant appealed. The central issue on appeal was whether the courts below failed to conduct a proper analysis as to when the plaintiffs knew or ought to have known that a legal proceeding would be an appropriate means to remedy their alleged losses. The Court of Appeal noted that it had repeatedly held that consideration of when a proceeding was an appropriate means to remedy a claim is an essential element of the discoverability analysis and held that the Small Claims Court and Divisional Court erred in failing to do so. The Court of Appeal went on to hold that in the circumstances the plaintiffs did not know, and a person in their situation would not reasonably have known, that a proceeding was an appropriate means to remedy their losses until at earliest a date less than two years before the claim was commenced. Therefore, the action was not stature barred and it was remitted back to the Small Claims Court for determination on its merits.
At issue on this appeal was the application of the “appropriate means” element of the discoverability test under the Limitations Act. Intact Insurance moved for summary judgment to dismiss the action of the Respondent for indemnification under a commercial insurance policy for losses arising from a flood to its business premises. Intact argued that the Respondent’s action was statute-barred as it was commenced after the expiration of the two year limitation period. The motion judge dismissed Intact’s motion and declared that the limitation period did not begin to run until Intact formally denied the claim (and that this was the point at which the Respondent became aware that a proceeding would be an “appropriate means” to remedy its loss). The Ontario Court of Appeal allowed the appeal. The Court of Appeal held that the limitation period for a property insurance claim generally runs from the date of the loss or damage (and not from the time of the denial). The Court of Appeal also reviewed the law regarding when the general presumption about the limitation period can be set aside due to promissory estoppel.
The Plaintiff brought a motion to add TTC Insurance Company Limited (“TTCICL”) as a Defendant in order to assert a claim for unidentified motorist coverage. At issue was whether the Plaintiff’s claim against TTCICL was statute barred pursuant to the Limitations Act. Justice Chiappetta concluded that the limitation period would begin the day after the Plaintiff made an indemnification claim which TTCICL failed to satisfy. Since the Plaintiff brought the motion to add TTCICL as a Defendant before making a claim that TTCICL failed to satisfy, the court held that the limitation period had not expired.