Ellen Alston, et al. v. Municipal District of Foothills No. 31

(Alberta) (Civil) (By Leave)


Charter of Rights — Fundamental justice — Civil procedure — Case management — Dismissal for delay — Applicants suing municipality for alleged contamination of water supply on private property — Applicants’ claims dismissed for delay — Whether Court of Appeal did not consider central issue of whether self-represented applicants had actual knowledge of rule against delay of civil action — Whether applicants were given sufficient time to question municipality on affidavit in application to dismiss action — Whether facts of case prove applicants did not delay action — Whether statements in Court of Appeal decision failed to match evidence presented by applicants — Whether municipality and its legal counsel committed fraud through misrepresentations of fact — Whether Court of Appeal decision negated evidence of misrepresentations — Whether municipality engaged in deliberate cover-up of contaminated water, breached environmental legislation and committed criminal negligence — Whether applicants were denied right to be tried by independent and impartial tribunal — Alberta Rules of Court, Alta. Reg. 124/2010, Rule 4.31.


Case summaries are prepared by the Office of the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Canada (Law Branch). Please note that summaries are not provided to the Judges of the Court. They are placed on the Court file and website for information purposes only.

The applicants sued the respondent municipality for approximately $8M in damages, arising from the alleged contamination of groundwater on their property. The applicants’ Statement of Claim and the respondent’s Statement of Defence were both filed by the summer of 2010. In 2017, the municipality applied to have the action dismissed for reasons of delay, under the Alberta Rules of Court. The applicants opposed the motion. The Court of Queen’s Bench refused to grant the municipality’s application to have the claims against it dismissed for delay. The Court of Appeal unanimously allowed the municipality’s appeal, and dismissed the applicants’ claims against it, for reasons of delay.

Lower Court Rulings

June 3, 2021
Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta

Respondent’s application to dismiss applicants’ claims, for reasons of delay — dismissed (litigation plan ordered)
February 7, 2023
Court of Appeal of Alberta (Calgary)

2023 ABCA 46, 2101-0237AC
Respondent’s appeal allowed; applicants’ claims dismissed for delay