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Faster Lawsuits: Defence Tries to Force Plaintiff to Trial Within 3.5 Months of Starting Their Lawsuit

You won’t be given relief, unless you ask….

A pretty aggressive motion by the defendants, having apparently failed to slow down one set of plaintiffs (which was ordered to Trial by Judge Snowie) led to this motion to drastically speed up the lawsuits of two other sets of plaintiffs: Chen v. Ji, 2013 ONSC 7408 (CanLII).

All 3 sets of plaintiffs were involved in the same August 2011 motor vehicle accident in Ontario. The first set started their lawsuit early and were ready to go to Trial in Jan/2014. It appears that the defendant tried to slow down this first set of plaintiffs, as they recognized that more plaintiffs might sue. Inevitably, the remaining plaintiffs started their lawsuit in the Summer 2013, just months before the start of the Trial of the first lawsuit. On this motion, Master McAfee denied the defendant’s attempt to speed up the remaining two lawsuits in order that all 3 lawsuits proceed together. In doing so, Master McAfee stated as follows:

[9] In my view, however, Justice Snowie has already considered and determined the issue before me and has ordered that the Brampton action proceed alone to trial on the January 6, 2014 blitz list. Her Honour was made aware of the fact that defendant expected to be served with another action arising out of the same accident. Her Honour noted that the Brampton action was ready for trial. Her Honour considered the prejudice to the plaintiff if the Brampton action were consolidated with other actions and found that such an order would be highly prejudicial to the plaintiff in the Brampton action.

It is unknown whether the defendant sought to appeal Judge Snowie’s order.

Practically, there is obviously an efficiency to having all plaintiff lawsuits proceed together, including avoiding contradictory liability verdicts and also to avoid potential policy limit problems of the defendant – i.e. the first action could eat up the entire policy whereas having all 3 actions proceeding together would allow for a global mediation and global pre-trial, providing the defence insurer opportunities to settle all the cases within limits.


Gregory Chang

Toronto Personal Injury and Insurance Lawyer