Court approves settlement in class action against Roman Catholic Diocese of
Antigonish for sexual abuse by priests:

    Settlement establishes $13 million dollar fund for victims of sexual
    abuse and estates of deceased victims

HALIFAX, Sept. 30 /CNW Telbec/ - The Supreme Court of Nova Scotia has certified a class action lawsuit filed by Ronald Martin against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Antigonish. The settlement totals more than $13 million for all persons who were sexually assaulted by any priest of the Catholic Episcopal Corporation of Antigonish since January 1, 1950, including the estates of those persons if they have since passed away.

The Court certified the class action and approved the proposed settlement of the claim, known as Martin v Lahey et al, Hfx No.297827, following a hearing held on September 10, 2009.

Anyone who suffered sexual abuse by a priest of the Antigonish Diocese since January 1, 1950 is considered a "Class Member". The settlement process itself will be private and confidential. Class Members must file a claim no later than March 10, 2010.

Full details of the settlement and information on how to file a claim can be found at


Under the provisions of the Settlement Agreement, the Diocese will establish the following:

    i)   A "Settlement Fund" of up to $12 million to pay compensation to
         eligible Class Members;
    ii)  An "Expense Fund" of $1 million to pay the expenses of the
         settlement; and
    iii) A "Costs Fund" to pay certain claimant fees and costs.


Class Members who wish to file a Claim are requested to notify Class Counsel no later than December 4, 2009. In order to qualify for compensation, Class Members who decide to make a Claim must file a completed Claim Form with Defence Counsel no later than March 10, 2010.

If both parties agree, a claim may be settled without a hearing. Otherwise, the claim will be considered by a retired judge of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia at a private and confidential hearing.

The claim can include compensation for pain and suffering, and wage loss up to certain limits. The Diocese will pay successful claimants certain amounts for costs of: (1) necessary counselling, and (2) pursuing a successful claim. The amount paid to each eligible claimant will depend upon both the evidence presented and the total value of other eligible claims.

Class members may be required to be evaluated by a neutral medical expert.


Persons or the estates of deceased individuals who believe they are Class Members have the following options as listed below.


    To file a claim, class members must do the following:

    A class member is requested, but not obligated to notify Class Counsel on
or before December 4, 2009 of his intention to become a Claimant. Class
counsel's address is:

    Arnold Pizzo McKiggan
    306-5670 Spring Garden Road
    Halifax, Nova Scotia B3J 1H6
    Toll Free in Atlantic Canada: (877) 423-2050
    Local: (902) 423-2050
    Fax: (902) 423-6707
    Attn: Mr. John McKiggan, Class Counsel

    Claim Forms are available from Mr. McKiggan or at
    To be considered, a class member must complete, sign and file an
acknowledged Claim Form with Diocese Counsel, no later than March 10, 2010.
Diocese counsel's address is:

    MacIntosh, MacDonnell & MacDonald
    610 East River Road, Suite 260, P.O. Box 368
    New Glasgow, NS, B2H 5E5
    Fax 902.752.7810
    Attn: Bruce T. MacIntosh, Q.C., Diocese Counsel


    Class Members may decide not to file a claim under the class action.

However, if a class member chooses not to file a claim within the time limit, he will not be allowed to make a class action claim or commence a private lawsuit against the Diocese in the future, unless he files a notice to exclude himself from the settlement class ("Opt Out Notice").


If a class member does not want to participate in the class action settlement, but wants to preserve any legal right to commence a private lawsuit in the future, he must formally opt out by completing the Opt Out Form and filing this form with Diocese Counsel no later than December 4, 2009. Opt Out Forms are available from Class Counsel or at


If more than 70 Class Members file Claims, of if Class Member(s) opt out, both the Representative Plaintiff, Ronald Martin, and the Defendant Diocese have the option to cancel this settlement and continue with the Action in the conventional manner.


Class members may retain the confidential services of Class Counsel John McKiggan to file a Claim. Class members may also retain a private lawyer, or self-represent. Use of a lawyer is recommended. Any fee arrangement will be reviewed by the Judge for reasonableness.


Visit, or contact Class Counsel John McKiggan at (877) 423-2050.

    -   Please note that this news release is just a summary. To review the
        full agreement, visit

           Do not contact the Court directly about this settlement.


For further information: For further information: Arnold Pizzo McKiggan, 306-5670 Spring Garden Road, Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3J 1H6, Toll Free in Atlantic Canada: (877) 423-2050, Local: (902) 423-2050, Fax: (902) 423-6707, Email:; MacIntosh, MacDonnell & MacDonald, 610 East River Road, Suite 260, P.O. Box 368, New Glasgow, NS, B2H 5E5, Fax (902) 752-7810, Email:

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