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Dismissal of Action for Delay

Posted on October 5, 2016 | Posted in Civil Litigation, Five Liners

Southwestern Sales Corp v. Spurr Bros. Ltd 2016 Ont CA

Claims for a lien were registered in 2001; trial records were filed in 2003. After some periods of activity and many periods of inactivity, the actions were struck from the trial list and ultimately dismissed at a status hearing. No one attended for the lien claimant at the status hearing because the lien claimant’s lawyer had surrendered his license to the Law Society, without notifying the lien claimant. Normally, the court does not prejudice the litigant because of the sins of its lawyer. However, in this case the defendant had had its money tied up in court for 10 years after vacating the liens from title and the plaintiff submitted no evidence to describe the steps it had taken to supervise its counsel in the action. The Court held that the lien claimant, a commercial entity, was required to take reasonable steps to supervise its lawyer to ensure an expeditious determination of the actions on the merits. The Court upheld the ruling to dismiss the actions.


Jonathan Speigel


Written by Jonathan Speigel Jonathan Speigel, the founding partner of Speigel Nichols Fox LLP, leads the litigation and construction practices.


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