Ontario Civil

Civil Practice and Procedure

Limitation of actions

Actions involving municipal corporations

Action for damages alleging failure to advise on effect of bylaw was statute barred

Owner wished to develop industrial property which became subject to bylaw that required him to pay town $266,157.22 in development charges. Owner brought action for damages against defendants, project manager and consulting firm, alleging that they failed to advise him about bylaw and its effect, causing him to unnecessarily pay development charges. Motion by defendants for summary judgment dismissing action as statute barred was granted on basis that action was commenced after two-year limitation period in Limitations Act, 2002. Appeal by owner dismissed. Motion judge found that owner knew that payment of development charges could have been avoided had timely application for building permit been made and knew enough material facts to infer that defendants had caused him harm by not applying for building permit; and that reasonable person who had legal advice available to him for construction project would not have asked principal of consulting firm for legal advice about operation of municipal bylaws. It was arguable on record that owner should have been aware of his claim and his right to bring action much earlier in time. To suggest that anyone engaged in development in town and their experts would have been unaware that town was about to pass bylaw under Development Charges Act, 1997 strained credulity. When town returned site plan to owner, it noted that development charges would be owing on project, but nothing was done until two years later when building permit was applied for and owner had to pay charges. By then, if not before, owner should have known that he had claim against those who were responsible for obtaining building permit. There was no error in motion judge’s decision.

Gottlieb v. Malone Given Parsons Ltd. (2017), 2017 CarswellOnt 15093, 2017 ONCA 757, J. MacFarland J.A., David Watt J.A., and M.L. Benotto J.A. (Ont. C.A.); affirmed (2016), 2016 CarswellOnt 18866, 2016 ONSC 7350, Perell J. (Ont. S.C.J.).


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