Court of Appeal confirms two years to sue for damages under Charter of Rights
and Freedoms

TORONTO, Dec. 7 /CNW/ - Those who want to sue the police or any other public entity for damages under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms had better do so within two years. That is the consequence of a December 2nd decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal, upholding a lower court decision.

"Before this decision the Court of Appeal had suggested that claims for damages under the Charter were in a special category, in terms of the limitation period," says Stuart Zacharias of Lerners LLP, who successfully argued the case at the Court of Appeal. "Now there is no debate in this Province that such claims are subject to the same two year limitation period that applies to all other claims. They must be brought in a timely way, at the risk of losing the ability to assert the claims at all."

In Alexis v. PC Darnley et al., Lerners LLP represented a doctor who a woman sought to add to her lawsuit against the Toronto Police and Scarborough General Hospital. In October 2005, she had sent an email to the office of the Premier of Ontario in which she appeared to be contemplating suicide. This led to her being escorted by the police to the hospital for a psychiatric assessment. After she was assessed and found not to be a danger to herself, she was released the next day. In March 2008, she issued her claim against both the police and the hospital, alleging that she had been unlawfully detained and claiming damages for alleged breaches of her Charter rights. This was more than two years after the fact.

Her case was dismissed in its entirety, including her attempt to add the doctor, for having been commenced too late. This has now been upheld by the Court of Appeal.

Stuart Zacharias of Lerners, who acted on behalf of the doctor, is available for interviews. The decision written by Mr. Justice Rouleau of the Ontario Court of Appeal is also available.


For further information: For further information: To arrange for an interview or for more information, please contact: Mary Ann Freedman, Freedman & Associates Inc. for Lerners LLP, (416) 868-1500,

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