Suspension of Prescription for Those Awaiting Additional Information from the Future Defendant Before Instituting a Legal Action
Par Sarah D. Pinsonnault, avocate
By Sarah D. Pinsonnault
The decision of Blondin c. Blondin Leblanc, 2014 QCCS 4365, pits twelve heirs, who are also siblings, against each other with respect to the administration of their late mother’s estate. More precisely, the mandatary appointed to take care of their mother in the event of her incapacity, along with the liquidator of their mother’s estate, are being sued by several of their siblings (hereinafter referred to as the “Plaintiffs”) who are contesting their rendering of account and are claiming a reimbursement of $ 212,444.11 to the estate. In the case at bar, the mandatary requested the dismissal of her siblings’ action pursuant to article 165(4) C.p.c. on the basis that their action was prescribed. Taking the facts alleged by the Plaintiffs as truth, the Court found that there was a suspension of prescription and a renunciation of acquired prescription in the present case; both of which justified the dismissal of the mandatary’s motion.
A suit in rendering of account is prescribed by three years (article 2925 C.c.Q.). The right to a rendering of account begins on the termination of the administration (article 1363 C.c.Q.). The mandatary in this case did so in July 2009. The prescription was to therefore, in principle, acquired in July 2012.
However, an initial motion in rendering of account was instituted in January 2012 by the Plaintiffs against the mandatory. This motion was nonetheless struck from the court role following a settlement between the parties, whereby the mandatory agreed to provide the Plaintiffs with additional documents pertaining to her administration.
These documents were provided to the Plaintiffs in June 2012 who, in turn, deemed them unsatisfactory.
In August 2013, the Plaintiffs decided to file the present motion against the mandatory and the liquidator of the estate.
With respect to the mandatory’s motion for dismissal based on prescription, the Court found that not only was there a renunciation of acquired prescription made by the mandatory (article 2885 C.c.Q.), but that there was a suspension of prescription as well (article 2904 C.c.Q.) since it was impossible for the Plaintiffs to act during the time they were awaiting the additional information from the mandatory:
“ En effet, jusqu’à juin 2012, les demandeurs ont été dans l’impossibilité d’agir et la prescription a été suspendue.
 Avant de recevoir la reddition de compte convenue à l’occasion de l’entente pour clore le débat sur le Premier recours, les demandeurs ne disposaient pas du matériel leur permettant de déterminer si Mme Gisèle Blondin, d’une part, et M. Denis Blondin, d’autre part, avaient adéquatement rempli leurs devoirs. Ils n’étaient pas en mesure de déterminer s’ils avaient ou non des droits à faire valoir à l’encontre de Mme Blondin, et s’il était opportun ou non d’instituer un nouveau recours contre elle.
 De plus, en convenant de régler le Premier recours moyennant de nouvelles modalités de reddition de compte, Mme Gisèle Blondin a renoncé au bénéfice du temps écoulé jusqu’alors. Autrement, les demandeurs n’auraient jamais pu consentir à rayer le Premier recours avant de bénéficier de la seconde reddition de compte et des informations supplémentaires convenues.
 Le délai de prescription aurait donc expiré en juin 2015. Manifestement, le présent recours a été intenté avant cette date. ”
To read the decision in its entirety, click here.