Statement of Claim Issued in SickKids "Motherisk" Lab Class Action

TORONTO, Jan. 20, 2015 /CNW/ - Koskie Minsky LLP and Sutts, Strosberg LLP have issued a Statement of Claim on behalf of representative plaintiff, Yvonne Marchand, in a proposed class action against The Hospital for Sick Children ("SickKids") due to flawed hair-strand drug and alcohol testing conducted by its Motherisk Drug Testing Laboratory ("Motherisk") between 2005 and 2015.

The claim also names Dr. Gideon Koren, the founder and laboratory director of Motherisk, and Joey Gareri, the laboratory manager at Motherisk, as individual defendants in the lawsuit.

The claim alleges that SickKids, Koren, and Gareri were negligent by, among other things, failing to meet internationally recognized forensic standards with Motherisk's hair-testing and by failing to provide proper oversight to ensure the quality, proficiency and accreditation of its tests.

The plaintiff brings the lawsuit on behalf of:

  • all persons who tested positive from a hair-strand drug and/or alcohol test administered by Motherisk between January 2005 and April 2015 (the proposed "Class"); and
  • all parents, grandparents, children, grandchildren, siblings and spouses of Class members within the meaning of the Family Law Act (the proposed "Family Class").

The plaintiff seeks $200 million in damages for negligence and $250 million in punitive damages.

On December 17, 2015, following an extensive investigation as the appointed "Independent Reviewer", The Honourable Susan E. Lang released her findings in a report, which found many alarming issues, including:

  • The hair-strand drug and alcohol testing used by Motherisk between 2005 and 2015 was "inadequate and unreliable for use in child protection and criminal proceedings".
  • Between 2005 and 2015, Motherisk "operated in a manner that did not meet internationally recognized forensic standards".
  • SickKids "did not provide meaningful oversight" over Motherisk.
  • The use of Motherisk hair-testing evidence in child protection and criminal proceedings "has serious implications for the fairness of those proceedings".

"There is nothing more precious than the parent-child relationship," says Kirk Baert, co-lead counsel at Koskie Minsky LLP, "the loss of a child because of false-positive test results grossly violates the rights of thousands of families and fundamentally altered the paths of their lives."

A Notice of Action was issued in this case on December 22, 2015. On that same day, the Province of Ontario was notified of the plaintiff's intention to name it as a defendant in the lawsuit. The Province will be added to the claim in the coming weeks once the notice period expires pursuant to the Proceedings Against the Crown Act.

SOURCE Koskie Minsky LLP

For further information: For further information or if you are a class member: Website: www.kmlaw.ca/motheriskclassaction, Toll-free: 1-844-819-8521, Email: motheriskclassaction@kmlaw.ca; For all media enquiries, please contact: Rob Gain, 416-595-2072.

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