The plaintiff slipped and fell twice in close succession on February 7, 2017 – once on a sidewalk and once on a roadway in or near a crosswalk. At the material time the City contracted with D. Crupi & Sons Ltd. for winter maintenance of the roadway, and with Maple-Crete for winter maintenance of the sidewalk. Maple-Crete subcontracted its work to Royalcrest. The plaintiff gave notice of her claim to the City on July 19, 2018. Nothing was done to identify possible additional defendants until January 2019 at which time the plaintiff’s lawyer spoke to an adjuster for the City who did not have information about the identities of potential additional defendants. On January 9, 2019 the plaintiff issued a statement of claim naming the City and “John Doe Maintenance Company” as defendants. On March 13, 2019 the City advised the plaintiff’s lawyer about the involvement of Crupi and Maple-Crete. The plaintiff brought a motion to add Crupi and Maple Crete as defendants in September 2019. Maple-Crete first learned of the incident on September 26, 2019 when it was served with the motion to add it as a defendant. Maple-Crete opposed the motion on the basis that the limitation period had expired. Master Muir dismissed the motion, holding that the statement of claim did not point the litigation finger at Maple-Crete, even when affording an objective and generous reading of the claim.
The plaintiff brought an unsuccessful appeal of the motion decision. In the reasons on appeal Justice Corbett affirmed Master Muir’s reasons, and held that Master Muir correctly found that expiration of the limitation period was a complete bar to adding the party. In the circumstances of the case, it was reasonable for Master Muir to find that the requirement to exercise reasonable diligence to identify contractors began on or about the date of loss and could not be used to extend the limitation period for more than four months.