Foreign judgments are not exempt from limitation period under Limitations Act (Ont.)

Ontario civil | Conflict of Laws

Enforcement of foreign judgments

Defences

Foreign judgments are not exempt from limitation period under Limitations Act (Ont.)

Plaintiff obtained judgment in United States against defendant, and defendant’s appeal was dismissed. Plaintiff’s application in Ontario to enforce foreign judgment was granted, with dismissal of defendant’s defence arguing that limitation period commenced from date of first-instance judgment and not from dismissal of appeal. Defendant appealed. Appeal dismissed. Class of claims subject to no limitation period under s. 16 of Limitations Act, including in s. 16(1)(b) of Act to enforce order of court, did not include to proceeding on foreign judgment. Debt obligation created by foreign judgment could not be directly enforced as proceeding within province had to be brought first. Term “order of court” referred to order of domestic court, which could only be obtained if underlying cause of action was not time-barred whereas proceeding underlying foreign judgment had not passed any Ontario limitations hurdle. Other claims grouped together in s. 16 of Act were those considered so important that would be no limitation period. It would contrary to purpose of Act to exempt foreign judgments from limitation period, since problems associated with preservation and reliability of evidence were especially pronounced for foreign judgment debtors. Applicable limitation period was basic two-year period from when claim was discovered meaning that commencing proceeding was “appropriate” which meant “legally appropriate”. It was not legally appropriate to commence legal proceeding in Ontario on foreign judgment until time to appeal foreign judgment had expired or all appeal remedies had been exhausted. Plaintiff’s claim based on foreign judgment was discoverable when appeal was dismissed and so proceeding was commenced within limitation period.
Independence Plaza 1 Associates, L.L.C. v. Figliolini (2017), 2017 CarswellOnt 374, 2017 ONCA 44, George R. Strathy C.J.O., G. Pardu J.A., and David Brown J.A. (Ont. C.A.).

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