The defendant law firm’s application for summary dismissal of a professional negligence action against them, is dismissed. The negligence claim arises from the defendant law firm’s failure to prosecute the plaintiff First Nation’s land claim, leading to dismissal of the action for long delay.
This application for summary dismissal of a professional negligence action is based on a limitations argument. The underlying lawsuit was about status, recognition and compensation to the Aseniwuche Winewak Nation, that consists of the descendants of those persons expelled from Jasper National Park at its inception. The underlying lawsuit was ultimately dismissed for long delay by a majority in the Court of Appeal (Canada (AG) v Delorme, 2016 ABCA 168). The Applicants argue that the limitation clock started with the applications to dismiss, not from the Court of Appeal Decision.
Part of the reason for the delay was because a conflict had developed within the firm which impaired their ability to prosecute the action. The Court held that the limitation period for suing the defendant law firm for professional negligence began to run when a majority of the Court of Appeal decided to dismiss the land claim action for long delay, not the date on which that application to dismiss was first filed.