As we have previously written, in
Application of Section 29.1
Section 29.1 provides that "the court shall, on motion" dismiss for delay an action commenced under the CPA unless one of the following is completed within the first year of the proceeding:
(a) the representative plaintiff has filed a final and complete motion record in the motion for certification;
(b) the parties have agreed in writing to a timetable for service of the representative plaintiff's motion record in the motion for certification or for completion of one or more other steps required to advance the proceeding, and have filed the timetable with the court;
(c) the court has established a timetable for service of the representative plaintiff's motion record in the motion for certification or for completion of one or more other steps required to advance the proceeding; or
(d) any other steps, occurrences or circumstances specified by the regulations have taken place.
Courts have interpreted the requirement in subsection (c) broadly. For example, in St. Louis v.
The court further held that section 29.1 does not actually require compliance with a timetable by the plaintiff, only that a timetable be in place. If such a timetable is not complied with, the defendants may have other remedies available.
The court has no discretion if section 29.1's requirements are not met. Indeed,
Consequences of Dismissal Under Section 29.1
Section 29.1 provides an effective housekeeping tool through which defendants may clear out stagnated proceedings. However, the practical implications of such a dismissal remain uncertain. For example, as
Even if a section 29.1 dismissal does not ultimately mean the end of the road, it will nevertheless be a costly speedbump for class counsel and the representative plaintiff(s). As such, class counsel should ensure they are familiar with the requirements of section 29.1, as well as the consequences for non-compliance (e.g. dismissal). It is well-established that counsel have a responsibility to advance matters forward with reasonable diligence - but the relatively straightforward application of section 29.1 certainly provides more incentive.
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