CIVIL PROCEDURE - Disposition without trial - Dismissal of action - Delay or failure to prosecute

Law360 Canada (September 13, 2023, 6:14 AM EDT) -- Appeal by Papasotiriou-Lanteigne (plaintiff/appellant) from judge’s dismissal of his appeal from master’s decision dismissing an action for long delay, challenging the effect of dismissal on subsequent action. The appellant commenced the action against his uncle HT, his aunt GT, and the corporations they controlled, alleging historical sexual abuse by HT. The defendants denied the allegations. When the action was commenced, the appellant was facing a criminal charge for first degree murder in which he was convicted. The appellant was released from custody pending determination of his murder appeal. He took no steps to advance the action for almost four years. The defendants moved to dismiss the action for delay. The appellant reasoned he did not advance the action as he was facing criminal proceedings. The master dismissed the appellant’s action for long delay and in exercise of his discretion, ordered the dismissal constituted a defence to any subsequent action. The appellant appealed. The judge dismissed the appellant’s appeal. The judge reasoned, once an action was dismissed for delay, a party could not bring a second action for the same relief even if the action was not statute barred by a limitation period as that would be an abuse of process. The plaintiff challenged the judge’s decision as to whether the dismissal was a defence to a subsequent action....
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