Limitation Periods – How quickly do you have to sue?

It’s funny how the same topic can raise its head in different ways on the same day. Today was that day for me with respect to Limitation Periods. I know, really? Limitation Periods are not that interesting at the best of times, let alone twice in one day.

The first time the issue was raised today was in Court, which is not really a surprise, I am afterall a trial lawyer. In Ontario, we have a Limitations Act which generally (and only generally) says you must sue within two years of discovering you have something to sue about.

Counsel on the otherside of my matter argued that my client was not allowed to sue on invoices delivered prior to two years from the date we issued the claim. Fortunately, the Limitations Act and a Court Decision stated plainly: the clock is reset everytime a partial payment is made.

The second time this issue came up today was when our courier company refused to address their delivery of a package to the wrong address, which the recipient then destroyed instead of returned. The courier company is claiming we had 15 days to let them know of the problem. Of course, the party we were sending it to didn’t realize they had not received it until this arbitrary 15 days was up.

Would this Limitation Period hold up in Court?

I’m perfectly prepared to find out and will let you know if we have to fight it.

Inga B. Andriessen JD