Jean Riley v. New Wave Expeditions Inc.

In Limitation Periods in Maritime Law, Stays of Proceedings on (Updated )

Précis: The Quebec Superior Court could not strike a claim arising from a river rafting excursion where the underlying facts, which determined the applicable limitation period, were disputed.

Facts: This was a motion by the defendant to strike the plaintiff’s claim. The plaintiff was injured during a rafting trip on 11 June 2015 and claimed damages from the defendant organizer of the trip for same by commencing an action on 8 June 2018. The defendant argued that the claim was time barred by s. 23 of the Marine Liability Act which provisioned a two year limitation period beginning on when the injury arose. The plaintiff argued that s. 23 does not apply as this claim was one of adventure tourism as prescribed by s. 37.1 of the MLA and therefore the three year time limitation period under s. 140 governed the claim.

Decision: Defendant’s motion dismissed.

Held: To strike a claim under Quebec’s Civil Code, the law can be disputed but the underlying facts of the claim cannot. The Quebec Superior Court examined the wording of s.23 of the MLA and found that section pertained to "vessels in a collision situation". The Court noted however that the plaintiff disputed that this was a "vessel collision" situation, which meant there was as dispute as to the underlying facts. Whether this was a "vessel collision claim" or not was a factual determination which could only be made by the trial judge . Therefore the Court could not strike the defendant’s claim.