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LIMITATION OF ACTIONS - Legislation - Interpretation

Thursday, March 14, 2019 @ 8:54 AM  

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Appeal by the plaintiff from the summary dismissal of its claim. The parties had a contractual relationship under which the appellant transported packages on behalf of the respondents. The arrangement was terminated by the appellant in 2009. The Union filed grievances on behalf of the principals of the appellant that went to arbitration in 2015. The appellant brought its action in 2011 claiming damages for alleged breaches of contract that were not covered by the collective agreement or the arbitration. The chambers judge found the appellant was aware of the alleged breaches of contract more than two years before it commenced its action as it had alleged those breaches in communications with the respondents and had sought legal advice. She found there was no standstill agreement in place.

HELD: Appeal dismissed. While the chambers judge proceeded on the erroneous assumption that the limitation period started to run at the time of breach, she made the necessary findings of fact as to when the appellant discovered and could reasonably have commenced the action. She found the breaches alleged by the appellant, the injury that resulted, and the knowledge that the injuries warranted a proceeding were known more than two years before the action was commenced. Those were findings of fact to which deference was owed. Uncertainty about which claims were covered by the arbitration process did not delay commencement of the limitation period. The record did not disclose any circumstances that extended the commencement of the limitation period. The chambers judge’s conclusion there was no standstill agreement, nor any representation that the limitation period would not be relied on, disclosed no reviewable error. Concurring reasons were provided.

Weir-Jones Technical Services Inc. v. Purolator Courier Ltd., [2019] A.J. No. 144, Alberta Court of Appeal, C.A. Fraser C.J.A., J. Watson, F.F. Slatter, T.W. Wakeling and J. Strekaf JJ.A., February 6, 2019. Digest No. TLD-March112019009