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Court Denies Conditional Striking of Jury Notice in Claim Involving Municipality

The decision in Dhaliwal et al. v. Gill et al., 2022 ONSC 1445, arises out of a motor vehicle accident. A municipality was named as a defendant and a third party.

One of the defendant drivers, Gill, entered a jury notice. Section 108(2)(1)(xii) of the Courts of Justice Act prohibits jury trials where relief is sought against a municipality. The plaintiffs moved to strike the jury notice.

Gill sought a “conditional” striking of the jury notice. He requested an order that, if the municipality is still involved as a litigant when the matter is called to trial, then the jury notice should be struck at that point. Gill pointed to settlement discussions which could lead to the municipality being released from the litigation.

Justice Harris did not agree with Gill’s position, stating “the eventuality that the town will no longer be a party in the proceedings is not secured by any tangible evidence and exists only in the realm of unanchored speculation. Instead, the logical presumption must be that the litigation will continue as per the status quo and the town will remain a party”.

Justice Harris indicated that the jury notice should clearly be struck now rather than waiting for a result which may never occur. Justice Harris also said that Gill’s request was directly contrary to the wording of the Courts of Justice Act. There was no right to a jury trial.

Further, Justice Harris stated that permitting the jury notice to stand would be unfair to the plaintiff and contrary to the interests of justice because jury trials are being scheduled for later dates than non-jury trials.

As a result, the jury notice was struck.