Heuman v. Andrews et al., 2005 ABQB 832

JudgeRowbotham, J.
CourtCourt of Queen's Bench of Alberta (Canada)
Case DateMarch 14, 2005
Citations2005 ABQB 832;(2005), 389 A.R. 182 (QB)

Heuman v. Andrews (2005), 389 A.R. 182 (QB)

MLB headnote and full text

Temp. Cite: [2005] A.R. TBEd. NO.056

Ryan Heuman, an Infant, by His Next Friend, Sheena Heuman and Sheena Heuman (plaintiffs) v. Dr. E. Andrews, Dr. Cox, Grande Prairie General Hospital, Mistahia Regional Health Authority, H. Koeser, R.N., J. McCaustin, R.N., B. Lawless, R.N., Jane Doe, R.N., Joan Doe, R.N. (defendants) and The Attorney General of Alberta (intervenor)

(0101 16096; 2005 ABQB 832)

Indexed As: Heuman v. Andrews et al.

Alberta Court of Queen's Bench

Judicial District of Calgary

Rowbotham, J.

November 4, 2005.

Summary:

In 2001, the plaintiffs (mother and child) sued the defendants alleging that the defendants' negligence during the child's birth in 1982 contributed to him developing cerebral palsy. The defendants argued that the action was barred by s. 59(2)(a) of the Limitation of Actions Act which bound an infant plaintiff to the same limitation provisions as an adult plaintiff as long as the infant was in the actual custody of the parent. The plaintiffs applied for a declaration that s. 59(2)(a) infringed ss. 7 and 15 of the Charter.

The Alberta Court of Queen's Bench dismissed the application. The court held that (1) the causes of action against all defendants arose before April 17, 1985; (2) s. 15 of the Charter could not apply retrospectively to the plaintiffs' causes of action; and (3) s. 7 of the Charter had no application.

Civil Rights - Topic 686

Liberty - Principles of fundamental justice - Deprivation of - What constitutes - [See both Civil Rights - Topic 1206.5 ].

Civil Rights - Topic 783

Liberty - Particular rights - Economic or property rights (incl. choice of work) - [See first Civil Rights - Topic 1206.5 ].

Civil Rights - Topic 1107

Discrimination - Civil proceedings - Limitation periods - [See Civil Rights - Topic 5660.7 ].

Civil Rights - Topic 1206.5

Security of the person - General - Right to psychological integrity (incl. dignity, reputation, etc.) - In 2001, the plaintiffs (mother and child) sued the defendants alleging that the defendants' negligence during the child's birth in 1982 contributed to him developing cerebral palsy - The defendants argued that the action was barred by s. 59(2)(a) of the Limitation of Actions Act which bound an infant plaintiff to the same limitation provisions as an adult plaintiff as long as the infant was in the actual custody of the parent - The plaintiffs applied for a declaration that s. 59(2)(a) infringed s. 7 of the Charter - They argued that for catastrophically injured infants who suffered permanent disability as a result of alleged negligence, damages represented more than monetary compensation -The potential shortfall from being unable to pursue litigation had a profound impact on a person's ability to exercise the rights of liberty and security of the person - Denying access to the courts based on his custodial situation could not be justified under the principles of fundamental justice - The Alberta Court of Queen's Bench dismissed the application - The right to commence legal proceedings was considered to be an economic right that was not encompassed by s. 7 - See paragraphs 39 to 46.

Civil Rights - Topic 1206.5

Security of the person - General - Right to psychological integrity (incl. dignity, reputation, etc.) - In 2001, the plaintiffs (mother and child) sued the defendants alleging that the defendants' negligence during the child's birth in 1982 contributed to him developing cerebral palsy - The defendants argued that the action was barred by s. 59(2)(a) of the Limitation of Actions Act (LAA) which bound an infant plaintiff to the same limitation provisions as an adult plaintiff as long as the infant was in the actual custody of the parent - The plaintiffs applied for a declaration that s. 59(2)(a) infringed s. 7 of the Charter - They asserted that in light of art. 23 of the Convention of the Rights of the Child, adequate resources were necessary for a disabled child to have physical and mental integrity and s. 7 should provide a guarantee to these resources - The Alberta Court of Queen's Bench dismissed the application - Article 23 had no application - Article 23 was concerned with the provision of state resources to disabled children, not with private law remedies that could provide further resources to disabled children as compensation for negligence - In enacting the LAA, the legislature had not denied the plaintiffs access to the courts - It considered the conflicting interests of litigants and potential defendants, and imposed limits on the time during which a claimant may sue - See paragraphs 46 to 53.

Civil Rights - Topic 1208.4

Security of the person - General - Limitation of actions - [See both Civil Rights - Topic 1206.5 ].

Civil Rights - Topic 5660.7

Equality and protection of the law - Particular cases - Limitation periods and notice provisions - In 2001, the plaintiffs (mother and child) sued the defendants alleging that the defendants' negligence during the child's birth in 1982 contributed to him developing cerebral palsy - The defendants argued that the action was barred by s. 59(2)(a) of the Limitation of Actions Act which bound an infant plaintiff to the same limitation provisions as an adult plaintiff as long as the infant was in the actual custody of the parent - The plaintiffs applied for a declaration that s. 59(2)(a) infringed s. 15 of the Charter - The Alberta Court of Queen's Bench dismissed the application - Both the accident and the expiry of the limitation period occurred well in advance of April 17, 1985, when s. 15 came into force - The plaintiffs had no ongoing right to sue once the limitation periods in ss. 55 and 56 had expired, i.e., one year after the cause of action arose - This was not a claim involving a continuing status of the plaintiffs - Section 15 could not apply to this claim - See paragraphs 7 to 38.

Civil Rights - Topic 8304

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - General - Application of - General (incl. retrospectivity and retroactivity) - [See Civil Rights - Topic 5660.7 ].

Civil Rights - Topic 8664

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - Equality rights (s. 15) - Application - [See Civil Rights - Topic 5660.7 ].

Limitation of Actions - Topic 9058

Persons under disability and exemptions and exclusions - Infants - Infants in actual custody of parent or guardian - [See both Civil Rights - Topic 1206.5 and Civil Rights - Topic 5660.7 ].

Cases Noticed:

Benner v. Canada (Secretary of State), [1997] 1 S.C.R. 358; 208 N.R. 81, consd. [para. 8].

Whitbread v. Walley et al. (1988), 51 D.L.R.(4th) 509 (B.C.C.A.), affd. [1990] 3 S.C.R. 1273; 120 N.R. 109; 77 D.L.R.(4th) 25, refd to. [para. 9].

Wittman v. Emmott (1991), 77 D.L.R.(4th) 77 (B.C.C.A.), leave to appeal dismissed (1991), 136 N.R. 319; 6 B.C.A.C. 80; 13 W.A.C. 80 (S.C.C.), refd to. [para. 9].

Gale Estate v. Hominick et al. (1996), 109 Man.R.(2d) 121; 147 D.L.R.(4th) 53 (Q.B.), leave to appeal dismissed (1997), 225 N.R. 160; 126 Man.R.(2d) 152; 167 W.A.C. 152 (S.C.C.), refd to. [para. 22].

Hallam v. Insurance Corp. of British Columbia (2001), 157 B.C.A.C. 215; 256 W.A.C. 215; 2001 BCCA 193, refd to. [para. 23].

Bauman et al. v. Nova Scotia (Attorney General) (2001), 192 N.S.R.(2d) 236; 599 A.P.R. 236; 197 D.L.R.(4th) 644; 2001 NSCA 51, refd to. [para. 24].

Tolofson v. Jensen and Tolofson, [1994] 3 S.C.R. 1022; 175 N.R. 161; 77 O.A.C. 81; 51 B.C.A.C. 241; 84 W.A.C. 241, refd to. [para. 27].

Angus v. Hart and Angus and Sun Alliance Insurance Co., [1988] 2 S.C.R. 256; 87 N.R. 200; 30 O.A.C. 210, refd to. [para. 29].

Clark v. Naqvi (1989), 99 N.B.R.(2d) 271; 250 A.P.R. 271 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 31].

Perrie v. Martin, [1986] 1 S.C.R. 41; 64 N.R. 195; 12 O.A.C. 269, refd to. [para. 32].

Brill v. Korpaach Estate (1997), 200 A.R. 161; 146 W.A.C. 161 (C.A.), leave to appeal refused [1997] 3 S.C.R. vi; 226 N.R. 318; 219 A.R. 180; 179 W.A.C. 180, refd to. [para. 33].

Banque Nationale de Paris (Canada) v. Opiola (Bankrupt) (2001), 277 A.R. 80; 242 W.A.C. 80; 2001 ABCA 25, refd to. [para. 33].

Castillo v. Castillo (2004), 357 A.R. 288; 334 W.A.C. 288; 2004 ABCA 158, leave to appeal granted (2004), 336 N.R. 397 (S.C.C.), refd to. [para. 33].

Stewart v. Stewart and Better Ways Health Inc. (1997), 90 B.C.A.C. 119; 147 W.A.C. 119; 145 D.L.R.(4th) 228 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 33].

Pearson et al. v. Boliden Ltd. et al. (2002), 175 B.C.A.C. 104; 289 W.A.C. 104; 222 D.L.R.(4th) 453; 2002 BCCA 624, leave to appeal refused, [2003] 2 S.C.R. ix; 321 N.R. 396, refd to. [para. 33].

Caspian Construction Inc. v. Drake Surveys Ltd. (2004), 184 Man.R.(2d) 284; 318 W.A.C. 284; 2004 MBCA 71, refd to. [para. 33].

Wong v. Lee et al. (2002), 157 O.A.C. 340; 58 O.R.(3d) 398 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 33].

Michalski v. Olson et al. (1997), 123 Man.R.(2d) 101; 159 W.A.C. 101 (C.A.), leave to appeal refused, [1998] 1 S.C.R. xii; 228 N.R. 195; 129 Man.R.(2d) 158; 180 W.A.C. 158, refd to. [para. 33].

K.C. v. College of Physical Therapists (Alta.) (1998), 212 A.R. 16; 168 W.A.C. 16; 1998 ABCA 213, refd to. [para. 34].

Peterson v. Kupnicki (1996), 187 A.R. 251; 127 W.A.C. 251 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 35].

T.L.W. v. D.C. (1997), 200 A.R. 357; 146 W.A.C. 357 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 35].

R. v. Morgentaler, [1988] 1 S.C.R. 30; 82 N.R. 1; 26 O.A.C. 1, refd to. [para. 43].

Bullen v. Hershfield, [1992] A.J. No. 1212 (Q.B.), refd to. [para. 44].

Vysek v. Nova Gas International Ltd. et al., [2002] 10 W.W.R. 70; 303 A.R. 209; 273 W.A.C. 209; 2002 ABCA 112, refd to. [para. 45].

Godbout v. Longueuil (Ville), [1997] 3 S.C.R. 844; 219 N.R. 1, refd to. [para. 49].

R. v. Jones, [1986] 2 S.C.R. 284; 69 N.R. 241; 73 A.R. 133, refd to. [para. 49].

R.B. v. Children's Aid Society of Metropolitan Toronto - see Sheena B., Re.

Sheena B., Re, [1995] 1 S.C.R. 315; 176 N.R. 161; 78 O.A.C. 1, refd to. [para. 50].

Auton et al. v. British Columbia (Minister of Health) (2002), 173 B.C.A.C. 114; 283 W.A.C. 114; 6 B.C.L.R.(4th) 201; 2002 BCCA 538, revd. [2004] 3 S.C.R. 657; 327 N.R. 1; 206 B.C.A.C. 1; 338 W.A.C. 1; 2004 SCC 78, refd to. [para. 52].

Statutes Noticed:

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, 1982, sect. 7, sect. 15(1) [para. 6].

Limitation of Actions Act, R.S.A. 1980, c. L-15, sect. 55, sect. 56 [para. 4 et seq.]; sect. 59 [para. 5].

Authors and Works Noticed:

Driedger, Elmer A., Construction of Statutes (2nd Ed. 1983), p. 192 [para. 19].

Driedger, Elmer A., Statutes: Retroactive Retrospective Reflections (1978), 56 Can. Bar Rev. 264, pp. 268, 269 [para. 8].

Mew, Graeme, The Law of Limitations (2nd Ed. 2004), pp. 66 [para. 33]; 67, fn. 13 [para. 33].

Counsel:

Don J. Holubitsky (Murphy Battista), for the plaintiffs;

John L. Townley and Brenda Johnson (Bennett Jones LLP), for the defendant, Dr. E. Andrews;

Dale E. Johns (Carscallen Lockwood LLP), for the defendant, Dr. Cox;

Brent F. Windwick, for the defendants, Grande Prairie General Hospital, Mistahia Regional Health Authority, H. Koeser, R.N., J. McCaustin, R.N., B. Lawless, R.N.;

Rod Wiltshire, for the intervenor, the Attorney General of Alberta.

This application was heard on January 14 and March 14, 2005, by Rowbotham, J., of the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench, Judicial District of Calgary, who delivered the following judgment on November 4, 2005.

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4 books & journal articles
  • Table of cases
    • Canada
    • Irwin Books Fundamental Justice: Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Second Edition
    • June 22, 2019
    ...Henry v British Columbia (Attorney General), 2015 SCC 24 ....................... 51, 141 Heuman (Next Friend of) v Andrews, 2005 ABQB 832 ...................................... 25 Hill v Church of Scientology of Toronto, [1995] 2 SCR 1130, 126 DLR (4th) 129, [1995] SCJ No 64 .....................
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    • Irwin Books Fundamental Justice: Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Second Edition
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    ...at 599. Compare Philip H Osborne, The Law of Torts , 5th ed (Toronto: Irwin Law, 2015) at 461–62. 17 Heuman (Next Friend of) v Andrews , 2005 ABQB 832; Wittman (Guardian ad litem of) v Emmott (1991), 77 DLR (4th) 77 (BCCA). FUNDA MENTAL JUSTICE 26 a notice period for commencing litigation a......
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    ...OJ No 4328 (SCJ) ............................................................................... 84 Heuman (Next Friend of) v Andrews, 2005 ABQB 832 ...................................... 24 Hill v Church of Scientology of Toronto, [1995] 2 SCR 1130, 126 DLR (4th) 129, [1995] SCJ No 64 ..........
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