No appeal if notice not served to respondents; cannot be reinstated: BC Court of Appeal

Failure to serve notice to all respondents meant appeal was never brought

No appeal if notice not served to respondents; cannot be reinstated: BC Court of Appeal
Failure to meet deadlines have serious consequences

The BC Court of Appeal has ruled that failure to serve notice to appeal to all respondents within the specified timeframe is a failure to bring the appeal, and such a failed appeal cannot be reinstated.

In Liebreich v. Farmers of North America, 2022 BCCA 221, Shannon Liebreich was employed with Farmers of North America until she was terminated in 2016. The lower court ordered Farmers to pay damages in lieu of reasonable notice, unpaid employment-related entitlements, damages, and special costs.

Farmers filed a notice of appeal but did not serve notice of appeal on Liebreich until nine days later. Counsel for Liebreich asserted that since notice was served outside of the 30-day deadline to bring an appeal, the appeal was not properly brought. In rebuttal, counsel for Farmers asserted that the deadline did not apply to service of the notice.

Because no further action was taken, the appeal was placed on the inactive list in April 2021 and later dismissed in July 2021.

Farmers applied to have the appeal reinstated, which Liebreich strenuously opposed.

The appellate court dismissed Farmers’ application.

Missing deadlines may have serious consequences

A plain language reading of the s. 14 of the Court of Appeal Act, RSBC 1996, c 77 shows that an appeal must be brought within 30 days, and that it requires both filing the notice of appeal and service of that notice of appeal on every respondent.

The appellate court found that Farmers failed to serve Liebreich notice of the appeal within the 30-day timeframe and thus the appeal was not brought in time. An appeal that was never brought cannot be reinstated, said the court.

Strict application of these deadlines is not limited to notice of appeals, like the addition of doctors in a medical malpractice suit.

Read more here: Plaintiff waited too long to add doctors to medical malpractice suit: NB Court of Appeal.

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