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May 14, 2014

Court of Appeal Rejects Discoverability Argument

A recent example shows that the new summary judgment rule may be used in cases where plaintiffs claim they did not discover they had a claim within the limitation period.

In Yelda v. Vu, [2014] ONSC 2168 (C.A.), the plaintiff was injured in a motor vehicle accident in 2002.  She did not commence an action until 2011.  She alleged that she did not discover her injuries met the threshold for a claim until she had an x-ray of her back in 2009.  A motions judge disagreed, and granted summary judgment dismissing the action.  The plaintiff appealed.

The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal.  The plaintiff's own evidence was that she had "really bad" back pain "half the time" each month following the accident.  She was never really pain free at any time, and at all times she attributed the pain to the accident.  Apart from occasional visits to hospital emergency departments, the plaintiff took no active steps to investigate the back pain from 2002 to 2009.  The motions judge held that it was implausible that a reasonable person would consistently take over the counter medication, have "really bad" pain, be unable to function a couple of days each month, and would find pain so bad as to need to attend the emergency department, yet fail to do anything to investigate the cause.  The Court of Appeal held there was no error in the motion judge's finding.

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