3.62: Amending pleading
3.65: Permission of Court to amendment before or after close of pleadings
3.74: Adding, removing or substituting parties after close of pleadings

Case Summary

Joan Sweetland, a Plaintiff in the underlying Action (“Ms. Sweetland”), was severely injured in a bus crash in 2012 (the “Action”). Ms. Sweetland applied to amend her Statement of Claim against the bus driver and transportation companies to add allegations of bad-faith treatment by and conspiracy on the part of their insurer and adjuster (the “Amendment Application”). The Defendants and proposed new Defendants opposed the Amendment Application on grounds including limitations.

Ms. Sweetland pointed to Rule 3.62(1)(b) which directs, among other things, that a party may amend a pleading after the close of pleadings with the Court’s prior permission in accordance with Rule 3.65. Lema J. referenced Rule 3.74 for the proposition that, on application, the Court may order that a person be added, removed, or substituted as a party to an Action if the Court is satisfied that the Order should be made.

Justice Lema outlined the “classic rule” that pleadings can be amended no matter how careless or late the party seeks to amend subject to four exceptions: (1) serious prejudice not compensable in Costs; (2) a “hopeless” amendment (which would have been struck if pleaded originally); (3) an amendment sought after expiry of limitation period; and (4) a failure to plead earlier tainted by bad faith.

After reviewing the relevant jurisprudence and the applicable provisions of the Limitations Act, RSA 2000, c L-12 (the “Limitations Act”), Justice Lema found, inter alia, that the two-year limitation period in ss. 3(1) of the Limitations Act had expired as the proposed new Defendants and their respective impugned actions and decisions all occurred prior to the summer of 2017. As Ms. Sweetland did not raise any discoverability issues or invoke any other exception or defence under the Limitations Act, Lema J. dismissed the Amendment Application.

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