In Saadi v. Silva, 2020 ONSC 6700, the court dismissed the plaintiff’s motion to strike a jury notice.
The action arose out of a motor vehicle accident. A jury was selected in Toronto on October 5, 2020. The trial was supposed to commence on October 14, 2020, but could not proceed due to a directive which suspended jury trials in Toronto as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The plaintiff sought to have the trial proceed without a jury. Justice Kimmel declined this request and adjourned the trial to the civil jury sitting in Toronto in June 2021.
Justice Kimmel accepted that the adjournment of the trial would result in some prejudice and inconvenience to the plaintiff. However, Her Honour stated that “the court’s exercise of discretion must balance the plaintiff’s concerns about the financial and other implications of delay and uncertainty against the loss of the defendants’ substantive right to a trial by jury”.
Justice Kimmel indicated that this is not a situation of indeterminate delay, nor is adjourning the trial to June 2021 unconscionable. She stated that, although recent public health guidelines have imposed temporary restrictions that have prevented new jury trials from starting at the present time, it is still anticipated that there will be a civil jury trial sitting in Toronto in June 2021. There is infrastructure in place in Toronto to hold jury trials, unlike in some other jurisdictions.
If, in June 2021, a civil jury trial cannot take place, the plaintiff has the right to renew her motion.