I was recently successful in a Motion to dismiss an action for delay.
Our client paid money into Court 17 years ago (yes, 17 years ago) and the Plaintiff failed to do anything about that money our client paid into Court all those years ago.
The Court sent a letter to the parties advising that these funds were being held and that they needed to be dealt with. Why it took them 17 years to get around to that, we’ll never know.
The Plaintiff brought a Motion to have that money paid to them, as they claim they were owed the money.
We brought our own Motion to dismiss the action for delay and have the money we paid into Court 17 years ago return to our client.
The Plaintiff claimed that it was our job (we were the defendant) to move the matter forward, and we did not, as a result, caused the delay. They were wrong. Obviously, it is the plaintiff’s responsibly to ensure the litigation moves forward, not the defendants.
If a Small Claims Court matter is not disposed of within two years, the Court should dismiss the action for delay. Why the Court never dismissed this action is anyone’s guess – but the Deputy Judge agreed with my submissions that the Plaintiff should have moved this matter forward and failed to do so, and as a result, their Motion was dismissed and ours was granted.
We are getting the money back and the action is dismissed.
Let this be a lesson to all Plaintiffs: if you proceed with legal action and you do not hear from the Court for a few months, follow up with them, because if you do nothing to move your matter forward, your action may be dismissed.
Murray Brown, Licensed Paralegal