Ontario Superior Court dismisses motor vehicle accident case for non-compliance with court orders

The court emphasized that dismissal for failing to comply is a last option

Ontario Superior Court dismisses motor vehicle accident case for non-compliance with court orders

In a recent decision, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice dismissed a motor vehicle accident case due to the plaintiff's failure to comply with court orders regarding document disclosure and legal representation.

In Gebremariam v. Burke, 2024 ONSC 1376, the defendant had filed a motion under Rule 60.12 of the Rules of Civil Procedure, leading to the dismissal of the action initiated by the plaintiff.

This case originated from an alleged motor vehicle accident. The plaintiff commenced the action against the defendant. Despite the court's directives, the plaintiff failed to serve a sworn affidavit of documents by the deadline on July 6, 2021, or to appoint a lawyer as mandated by the judge’s endorsement.

In May 2021, the defendant moved for an order compelling the plaintiff to serve the required documents. When this did not occur, a motion to dismiss the action for non-compliance was brought forth in September 2023. Despite being granted an adjournment to secure legal representation, the plaintiff also failed to meet this condition, leading to the court’s decision to dismiss the case.

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice highlighted the importance of adhering to procedural orders, underscoring that dismissal for failing to comply is a last resort. Nonetheless, the court found that the plaintiff’s actions—or lack thereof—constituted a disregard for the court's authority and procedures, warranting the dismissal of his claim.

The court also addressed the plaintiff’s arguments against the dismissal, including the assertion that an ongoing police investigation into the accident precluded the court's dismissal of the case and the misidentification of the defendant due to a gender discrepancy. The court found no merit in these arguments, noting the absence of evidence for a police investigation and confirming the defendant's identity in the accident.

Ultimately, the court determined that the plaintiff’s failure to comply with the court's orders and his inability to provide a reasonable excuse for his non-compliance justified the dismissal of the action. The court, citing precedent, emphasized the necessity for litigants to adhere to procedural rules and court orders.

In conclusion, the court granted the defendant's motion to dismiss the action and awarded costs against the plaintiff.

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