Jordan v. Schatz, personal injury law firm
Finding the best personal injury law firm in Vancouver does not matter if British Columbia has no jurisdiction over the injury claim. In this recently considered personal injury case a resident of British Columbia, was involved in a motor vehicle accident in Alberta by a resident of Saskatchewan. The injury claimant consulted a British Columbia personal injury law firm who thought it best to commence a lawsuit in the Supreme Court of British Columbia. Mr. Justice Leggatt denied the application by the Alberta and Saskatchewan residents seeking a declaration that the British Columbia Supreme Court had no jurisdiction. By this time the injury claimant was statute barred from starting a lawsuit in Alberta or Saskatchewan. The Alberta and Saskatchewan residents appealed the decision of the trial judge allowing the injury claimant to continue the personal injury lawsuit in British Columbia.
The best personal injury lawyers in Vancouver would ensure in this circumstance that personal injury lawsuits are filed in the other relevant provinces within the time required. The central issue for the Court of Appeal however was whether the British Columbia court has jurisdiction simpliciter over the injury claim because that claim cannot be pursued in another province due to the expiry of the other provinces’ limitation periods. Mr. Justice Leggatt placed significance on both the fact that the Saskatchewan and Alberta limitation periods expired and the fact that the other driver had lulled the injury claimant to sleep.
Whether or not jurisdiction exists is based on the application of the “real and substantial connection” test. Prowse J.A. in Cook v. Parcel, Mauro, Hultin & Spaanstra, P.C. (1997), 143 D.L.R. (4th) 213 (B.C.C.A.) states the test as follows, at p. 219:
“It is common ground that the test to be applied in determining whether the B.C. Supreme Court has jurisdiction over these proceedings is whether there is a real and substantial connection between the court and either the (respondent firm) or the subject-matter of the litigation (occasionally referred to in the authorities as the “transaction” or the cause of action”). Jurisdiction founded on this basis is referred to as “jurisdiction simpliciter”.
There can be no real and substantial connection to British Columbia based on the bare residency of the injury claimant in the jurisdiction. There must be some other or further sufficient connecting factor or “contacts” to this province. Clear examples of connecting factors include the residency of the other driver in the jurisdiction or the fact that the tortious act was committed or damages suffered here.
As is clearly stated by The Honourable Mr. Justice Cumming :
“In my opinion, the expiry of the limitation periods in other provinces where the action could have been heard is not a factor grounding jurisdiction simpliciter. Unlike a defendant’s residency, physical presence or location of the defendant’s assets, the expiry of the limitation period is not a factor connecting British Columbia to the defendant. Furthermore, it is not part of the subject of matter of the litigation or “transaction”, which in this case is the motor vehicle accident. Rather, it is a legal bar to bringing the action in the relevant foreign jurisdiction.”
The Court of Appeal allowed the appeal and set aside the orders below. Top personal injury law firms in British Columbia would be remiss in not paying attention to this injury claim decision and to ensure lawsuits are filed in time and in the right Province. Posted by Mr. Renn A. Holness
Issue: Should injury claimants be able to file their injury claim anywhere in Canada regardless of where the car accident occurred?
P.S. Dembroski v. Rhainds, 2010 BCSC 186 at para 20, ” All of these cases concluded that where a British Columbia resident plaintiff is injured in a foreign jurisdiction and then returns to British Columbia for treatment of injuries, there exists no real and substantial connection with British Columbia to give the courts of British Columbia jurisdiction because the only connection to this province is the fact that the plaintiff is a resident here at the time of the claim.”