City of Montréal v. Nousla Dorval, et al.

(Quebec) (Civil) (By Leave)


Civil liability - Bodily injury, Prescription.


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Civil liability — Bodily injury — Prescription — Whether solatium doloris claimed by indirect victim for loss of loved one who was direct victim of wrongful breach of physical integrity constitutes “moral injury” — Whether solatium doloris instead constitutes “bodily injury” as Quebec Court of Appeal held in Montréal (Ville) v. Tarquini, 2001 CanLII 13065, and in judgment that is subject of this leave application — Whether and, if so, how doctrine of initial breach used to characterize injury suffered by immediate or direct victim, according to Cinar Corporation v. Robinson, [2013] 3 S.C.R. 1168, applies in characterizing injury suffered by indirect victim — For relative affected by death of loved one, whether initial breach is moral injury or bodily injury — Civil Code of Québec, CQLR, c. C 1991, arts. 1457, 2925 and 2930 — Cities and Towns Act, CQLR, c. C 19, s. 586.

The respondents are members of the family of Maria Altagracia Dorval, who was murdered by her former spouse in October 2010. In October 2013, they filed a motion to institute proceedings claiming damages from the City of Montréal based on the inaction of its police force and the police officers of whom it was the principal, which had led to Ms. Dorval’s death. They claimed damages on behalf of the late Ms. Dorval’s succession for suffering, pain and inconvenience because of constant harassment by her former spouse and police inaction, and personally for solatium doloris, funeral expenses and loss of emotional support. The City of Montréal filed a motion to dismiss, alleging that the direct personal action in damages brought by the mediate or indirect victims as a result of the death was prescribed by s. 586 of the Cities and Towns Act, CQLR, c. C 19.