MONTREAL, Aug. 15, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - In a landmark decision, the Quebec Superior Court sentenced businessman Eddy Savoie, owner of Les Résidences Soleil, to pay $297,095.77 in damages to Ms. Pierrette Thériault-Martel for filing a malicious lawsuit against her.
This decision ends a legal saga that lasted three years. In July 2011, Ms. Thériault-Martel was served with a libel lawsuit filed by Mr. Savoie, in which he claimed $400,000 over remarks that she had made denouncing the poor quality of the services offered at the CHSLD Saint-Lambert-sur-le-Golf. In September 2013, the Quebec Superior Court held that Mr. Savoie's lawsuit was malicious and unreasonable and reserved Ms. Thériault-Martel's right to claim damages.
"This judgment is a great relief for me. The last three years have been very hard, but today I realize that there is a justice," says Ms. Thériault-Martel.
Ms. Thériault-Martel, whose has an annual income of only $12,000, had learned about the lawsuit while she was taking care of her dying mother. The numerous legal procedures that ensued caused her severe stress, and also demonstrated that Mr. Savoie, whose net worth is more than $1,5 billion, had filed this lawsuit with the sole goal of intimidating and silencing her. This type of lawsuit is commonly referred to as a "strategic lawsuit against public participation", or SLAPP.
"This judgment will have a significant impact on the protection of vulnerable people in the health system and in Quebec society in general," says Me Jean-Pierre Ménard, attorney for Ms. Thériault-Martel.
The decision, rendered by The Hon. Gary D.D. Morrison, includes $87,095.77 in costs and extrajudicial fees, $10,000 in moral damages and $200,000 in punitive damages, which is the highest amount of punitive damages awarded in a malicious lawsuit case in Quebec.
Ms. Thériault-Martel, Me Ménard and Mr. Louis Plamondon, spokesman for the Association québécoise de défense des droits des personnes retraitées et préretraitées (AQDR), will comment on this judgment at a press conference held at the office of Ménard, Martin avocats on Monday, August 18th, at 10:30 am. More details on this press conference to follow.
SOURCE: Ménard, Martin, avocats
For further information: Please contact Me Jean-Pierre Ménard at (514) 253-8044 or by e-mail at [email protected]