Hepatitis-C Tainted Blood Victims Demand Equal Treatment

VANCOUVER, Sept. 27, 2016 /CNW/ - Most Canadians thought the tainted blood tragedy had been fully addressed. But there are hundreds of tainted blood victims still waiting for the compensation that was promised to them by the Government of Canada.

Lawyers representing some of the more than 500 victims in the pre-1986/post-1990 Hepatitis-C settlement group filed a submission last week in Vancouver requesting that the courts of Ontario, Québec and British Columbia address a $65 million shortfall in their settlement fund.

"This is an issue of equity," said David Klein, managing partner of Klein Lawyers LLP, representing pre-1986/post-1990 Hepatitis C victims. "We have one group of victims whose claims were just topped up a month ago, when a $250 million surplus in their fund was distributed to victims. And we have another group of victims who submitted their claims on time, have been approved, and are still awaiting compensation."

More than 10 years ago, Justice Vital Ouellette of the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench ruled "The unequal treatment of the window [86-90] and non-window [Pre/Post] claimants based solely on date of infection is a denial of equal benefits under the law." 

While the pre-1986/post-1990 settlement fund was set up on the basis of parity with the 1986-1990 settlement fund, the status of the two groups of victims continues to drift apart. One has a surplus in the hundreds of millions of dollars while the other has claims being denied because it is in a deficit.

"The courts need to do everything in their power to address the growing inequity between the groups, and the provincial and federal governments need to step up to finally put this issue to rest," said Mike McCarthy, lead plaintiff for the pre-1986/post-1990 class action and former vice-president of the Canadian Hemophilia Society.

The documents filed last week request that the courts conduct a financial audit to determine the precise deficit that remains, and in the meantime, that ways be found to pay out some of the approved claims.

An online petition sponsored by Fred Girling, the widower of a Hepatitis-C tainted blood victim, continues to draw steam, with nearly 500 supporters from across the country.

"Victims are being re-victimized," said Fred Girling, a resident of Vancouver, on his petition "Beyond the emotional, psychological and physical toll of coping with Hepatitis C, having to fight for compensation that was approved years ago is undeserved."

To access the legal submission, visit: http://www.callkleinlawyers.com/class-actions/settled/hepatitis-c-tainted-blood/court-documents/  

For the petition by widower Fred Girling addressed to Prime Minister Trudeau, the Attorney General of Canada, and the Minister of Health Canada, visit: https://www.change.org/p/justin-trudeau-final-justice-for-canada-s-tainted-blood-scandal-victims

About Klein Lawyers LLP

Klein Lawyers is a national personal injury and class action law firm, employing over 50 staff with offices in Vancouver and Toronto. The firm has successfully represented clients in a host of landmark class action lawsuits.  For more information on Klein Lawyers, visit http://www.callkleinlawyers.com/

The following spokespersons are able to provide their views on the matter:

  • Fred Girling, widower of a Hepatitis-C tainted blood victim who has been waiting for promised compensation from the Government of Canada, and sponsor of an online petition
  • Mike McCarthy, Lead Plaintiff for the pre-1986/post-1990 class action
  • David Klein, Managing Partner of Klein Lawyers LLP on behalf of pre-1986/post-1990 Hepatitis C victims

SOURCE Klein Lawyers

For further information: media are asked to contact: Lisa Porteous, Case Manager, Klein Lawyers LLP, Tel: 604.714.6533 (Vancouver), lporteous@callkleinlawyers.com

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