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Digest of the Week — Limitation of Actions

Langley (Township) v. Witschel |
2015 CarswellBC 197 |
British Columbia Supreme Court

Civil practice and procedure | Limitation of actions | Actions in tort | Statutory limitation periods | Computation of time

Plaintiff municipality alleged traffic signal controller was damaged after being struck by vehicle operated by defendant — Cost of replacement unit installed was $30,000 — Plaintiff sent defendant's insurer invoice for replacement controller — Plaintiff wrote emails to follow up on unpaid invoices — Defendant brought motion for dismissal of claim — Defendant argued claim was out of time and was statute-barred — Plaintiff acknowledged claim was filed beyond limitation period but asserted defendant confirmed cause of action in two emails sent before limitation period expired — Defendant asserted one email was not admissible because of settlement privilege — Defendant asserted disclaimers contained in emails resulted in conclusion that they could not be read as admissions of liability — Motion granted — Action dismissed — There was nothing in admissible evidence that amounted to confirmation of cause of action for purpose of Limitation Act — Action was statute-barred — Plaintiff made claim and claim was disputed — Email from insurer was ample evidence that claim was disputed — Email indicating that insurer could not advise on when invoice might be paid was not sufficient to convey that defendant was going to settle claim or that some liability was being admitted — When email was considered as whole including disclaimer reasonable person would find that it was not acknowledgement of any liability.
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