Ontario Superior Court of Justice grants Leave to Amend a Plaintiff’s Claim to Add a Ride-Sharing Platform as a Defendant in a Motor Vehicle Claim

In Ledoux v. Lee, 2020 ONSC 1659 (“Ledoux”), the Ontario Superior Court of Justice summarized the legal principles that apply on a plaintiff’s motion to add a party as a defendant in a motor vehicle claim where the proposed defendant argues that the claim is time-barred. The court confirmed that the plaintiff is required to prove two things: first, that the claim was discovered on a date that is less than two years before the motion; and second, that reasonably diligent efforts were made to discover the claim prior to this date.

The plaintiff, Ludovic Ledoux, was injured in a motor vehicle accident on July 5, 2016 when his motorcycle collided with a vehicle operated by the defendant, Byeongehon Lee.

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Ontario Superior Court of Justice Summarizes Principles of Misnomer and Discoverability

In Reimer v Toronto (City), 2020 ONSC 1661, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice provided a helpful summary of the analysis that is brought to bear on a motion for an order to correct a misnomer or, in the alternative, to add a proposed defendant after the apparent expiry of a limitation period through discoverability.

The court confirmed that a proper misnomer analysis involves careful scrutiny of the Statement of Claim and that a lack of particulars will weigh heavily against a finding of misnomer.

Where the plaintiff relies on discoverability, the court underscored the plaintiff’s evidentiary burden to provide a reasonable explanation on proper evidence as to why the claim could not have been discovered through the exercise of reasonable due diligence.

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Limitation Periods and Singular Discrete Oppressive Acts

In Zhao v Li, 2020 ONCA 121, the Court of Appeal for Ontario considered how the two-year basic limitation period under section 4 of the Limitations Act, 2002, SO 2002, c 24, Sched B applies to oppression remedy claims under the Ontario Business Corporations Act, RSO 1990, c B.16 when the claims arise from a series of oppressive acts alleged to have occurred at different times.

The appellant was a shareholder in a dry cleaning business. She commenced a lawsuit against the respondent based on three alleged acts or omissions: (1) the respondent unilaterally dissolved the business without the approval, authority, or knowledge of the appellant; (2) the respondent failed to pay the proceeds of the sale or transfer of the business; and (3) the respondent failed to account for the profits of the business.

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Limitation Periods during the Coronavirus Pandemic

To protect health and safety and help contain the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the Ontario Superior Court of Justice has suspended all regular operations effective March 17, 2020 and until further notice.

In a Notice to the Profession, the Public and the Media Regarding Civil and Family Proceedings released on March 15, 2020, the court provided the following important guidelines that will have consequences on parties approaching statutory limitation periods in Ontario during this unprecedented pandemic:

  1. Ontario courthouses will currently remain open. Regular filings that are not urgent may continue to occur at courthouses. In the event that it becomes impossible to file at the courthouse, or the courthouse is believed to be unsafe, parties can expect the court to grant extensions of time once the court’s normal operations resume.
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Court of Appeal warns that pending “forum issues” will not delay the commencement of a limitation period in Ontario

In Lilydale Cooperative Limited v Meyn Canada Inc, 2019 ONCA 761, the Court of Appeal for Ontario concluded that it is not appropriate for a party to wait for a forum dispute to be decided prior to commencing a claim in Ontario. A forum dispute does not toll the limitation period under the Limitations. Act, 2002. This decision is consistent with recent Court of Appeal cases, which have held that settlement discussions and appeals do not postpone the commencement of limitation periods.

In 2004, the plaintiff commenced an action against two defendants in Alberta. Because of a limitation issue in the Alberta action, the plaintiff also commenced an action in Ontario against the same defendants in early 2006, making the same claims as in the Alberta action.

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Supreme Court of Canada determines that limitation period contained in s. 36(4)(a)(i) of the Competition Act is subject to discoverability

In Pioneer Corp. v. Godfrey, 2019 SCC 42, an 8-1 majority of the Supreme Court of Canada determined that the discoverability rule applies to the limitation period in s. 36(4)(a)(i) of the Competition Act, such that it begins to run only when the material facts on which the plaintiff’s claim is based were discovered or ought to have been discovered by him or her by the exercise of reasonable diligence. 

In Godfrey, the plaintiff commenced the main action on September 27, 2010. The proposed class action was brought on behalf of all B.C. residents who purchased Optical Disc Drives or Optical Disc Drive Products between January 1, 2004 and January 1, 2010.

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Court of Appeal addresses two issues: the interpretation of s. 12 of the Limitations Act in the context of a bankrupt company, and whether an appeal of an underlying judgment tolls the limitation period

In Ridel v Goldberg, 2019 ONCA 636, the Court of Appeal for Ontario considered whether a judgment creditor was statute-barred from pursuing a claim for contribution and indemnity against the principal of a judgment debtor company. On April 17, 2013, the appellants received a favourable judgment against a registered investment dealer company for negligence, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty (the “2013 Judgment”), which was upheld on appeal a year later. On October 25, 2016, following the bankruptcy of the company, the judgment creditor received authorization from the trustee-in-bankruptcy pursuant to section 38 of the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act to pursue the claim for contribution and indemnity against the principal of the company, Goldberg.

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