Former Residents of the Rideau and Southwestern Regional Centres Could Receive Benefits from Class Action Settlement Funds Totaling $32.7 million

TORONTO, Jan. 24, 2014 /CNW/ - Proposed Settlements have been reached in class action lawsuits involving the Rideau Regional Centre ("Rideau") and the Southwestern Regional Centre ("Southwestern"), which were residential facilities operated by the Province of Ontario (the "Province") that provided care and treatment to persons with developmental disabilities for decades. The Rideau facility, closed in 2009, was located in Smith Falls, Ontario, and the Southwestern facility, closed in 2008, was located in Blenheim, Ontario.

The lawsuits say the Province failed to properly care for and protect the residents of Rideau and Southwestern from physical and mental harm. The Province denies these claims and the Court has not decided whether the classes or the Province is right. Instead, both sides have agreed to a settlement. The proposed Settlements do not mean that any law was broken or that the Province did anything wrong.

The Court appointed the law firm of Koskie Minsky LLP from Toronto, Ontario to represent the classes as "Class Counsel." In a statement, Class Counsel, Kirk Baert said, "The proposed Settlements are fair, reasonable and in the best interests of all class members."

Those affected by the lawsuit include:

  • Residents:
    • People who were Rideau residents any time between 1963 and 2009.
    • People who were Southwestern residents anytime between 1963 and 2008.
  • Estate trustees of former residents:
    • Who lived at Rideau between 1963 and 2009, but who died after September 24, 2008.
    • Who lived at Southwestern between 1963 and 2008, but who died after December 29, 2008.

If the proposed Settlements are approved and become final, they will provide benefits to eligible Class Members from two Settlement Funds, which are being paid for by the Province. The Rideau Settlement Fund is $20.6 million and the Southwestern Settlement Fund is $12.1 million. The amount of benefits that Class Members can receive will depend on the level of harm suffered. If the Court approves the proposed Settlements, Class Members will have to submit a Claim Form to receive benefits. Rideau Claim Forms will be available at www.RideauClassAction.ca or by calling 1-800-305-2942 (TTY: 1-877-627-7027). Southwestern Claim Forms will be available at www.SouthwesternClassAction.ca or by calling 1-877-797-6678 (TTY: 1-877-627-7027).

Class Members who did not previously remove themselves from either of the classes will be legally bound by all orders and judgments of the Court, and cannot sue the Province about the legal claims in these cases. Being part of either of the classes will not impact the residence or services and support received by Class Members from community based agencies funded by the Province.

Class Members do not have to pay Class Counsel, or anyone else, to be part of the Class. Class Members may hire their own lawyer to appear in Court, with leave of the court, on their behalf at their own expense.

The Court will hold an Approval Hearing on February 24 and 25, 2014 at the Superior Court of Justice in Toronto, Ontario. At this hearing, the Court will consider whether the Settlements are fair, reasonable, and in the best interests of the Class, and whether to approve the Settlements.

Some Class Members may have difficulty reading, so we are asking for help from family members, caregivers and friends of former residents in getting information to them. Please show this information to people who are impacted by these lawsuits or to their caregivers.

More detailed information about the lawsuits is available on the websites at www.RideauClassAction.ca and www.SouthwesternClassAction.ca. You may also call toll-free 1-800-305-2942 (Rideau) or 1-877-797-6678 (Southwestern) (TTY: 1-877-627-7027); write to: Rideau or Southwestern Class Action Administrator, 3-505, 133 Weber Street North, Waterloo, Ontario, N2J 3G9; or email: rideau@crawco.ca or southwestern@crawco.ca.

Class Members who are having a difficult time dealing with the issues in these lawsuits can call 1-800-305-2942 (Rideau) or 1-877-797-6678 (Southwestern) (TTY: 1-877-627-7027) for assistance.

CONTACT: David Rosenfeld, (416) 595-2700

SOURCE Koskie Minsky LLP