Court gives preliminary go ahead to Huronia class action

TORONTO, April 20 /CNW/ - Beginning March 2, 2010 Mr. Justice Maurice Cullity of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice heard arguments in Seth, Slark, Dolmage, et al v Huronia Regional Centre, et al to determine whether the court would certify, as a class proceeding, an action against the Province of Ontario relating to alleged abuses suffered by former residents of the Huronia Regional Centre ("Huronia"), a government institution in Orillia, Ontario, for persons labeled with developmental and other disabilities. The court reserved its decision.

In its reasons released late Monday, the court held that the action met virtually all of the requirements for a class proceeding, especially for the years 1961 to 1979. The court held that if the case is to cover the time period before 1961 or after 1979, the plaintiffs must file further evidence covering those time periods. The court also held that the plaintiff must file an amended litigation plan to deal with the issues arising from the vulnerability of the class members in this case. A date will be set for these matters to be addressed in court. In all other respects, the case met the test for certification under the Class Proceedings Act, 1992.

Since its inception in 1876 until its recent closure in March 2009, the Province operated Huronia as a residential facility. It is alleged that the residents of Huronia were emotionally, physically, and psychologically abused and traumatized by their experiences at Huronia and that the Province breached their fiduciary, statutory and common law duties to those former residents through the establishment, operation, and supervision of Huronia.

Specifically, it is alleged that the Province's failure to care for and protect those former residents resulted in loss or injury, including psychological trauma, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and exacerbation of (existing) disabilities.

"Viewed from the perspective of the three legislative objectives, I have no doubt that a class proceeding would be the preferable procedure if the procedure can be adapted to accommodate the special needs of the class members. Certification will permit most of the elements of negligence and breach of fiduciary duty to be determined at a common issues trial and, by so doing, would substantially advance the proceeding," the court held.

The representative plaintiffs and their litigation guardians commenced this action in April 2009 seeking to represent all former residents of Huronia and their families. Koskie Minsky LLP represents the plaintiffs in this action.

SOURCE Koskie Minsky LLP

For further information: For further information: on this class proceeding please visit or call 1-866-777-6311.

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