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

    Victims of sexual abuse and estates of deceased may be eligible to claim
    compensation from $13 million settlement fund.

    HALIFAX, Aug. 7 /CNW Telbec/ - One year ago Ronald Martin filed a
proposed class action in the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia against the Roman
Catholic Diocese of Antigonish seeking compensation for himself and all
persons who were sexually abused by priests of the Diocese.
    Today the parties to the lawsuit announced a proposed settlement of the
class action totalling 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 class action is referred to as Martin v Lahey et al,
Hfx No.297827.
    Persons impacted and choosing to participate in the settlement are
considered "Class Members".


    The proposed settlement can be broken down as follows:

    i)   up to $12 million will be paid by the Diocese into a "Settlement
         Fund" to pay compensation to eligible Class Members;

    ii)  The Diocese will create an "Expense Fund" $1 million to pay the
         expenses of the settlement; and

    iii) The Diocese will create a "Costs Fund" to pay certain claimant's

    Class Members must file a claim within specified time limits in order to
qualify for compensation and benefits under the proposed class action
    The settlement process will be private and confidential.
    Class Members may be required to be evaluated by a neutral medical
    Class Members and the Diocese may settle claims by agreeing to the amount
of compensation, without the need for a hearing.
    If a class member and the Diocese cannot agree on the value of a
settlement, the claim will be considered by a judge or retired judge of the
Supreme Court of Nova Scotia at a private and confidential hearing.
    Claims can include compensation for pain and suffering, and wage loss up
to certain limits. The Diocese will pay successful claimants necessary
counseling costs as well as certain costs associated with pursuing a
successful claim. The amount each claimant will receive depends upon the
details of the claim, and the number of claims made.
    In order for the settlement to become effective, it must be approved by
the court, which must be satisfied that the settlement is fair, reasonable,
and in the best interests of the Class Members. The date and location for the
approval hearing is as follows:

    September 10 & 11, 2009, at 10:00 a.m.,
    Supreme Court of Nova Scotia,
    1815 Upper Water Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia.


    Persons or the estates of deceased individuals who believe they are Class
    Members have the following options:

    -   SUPPORT THE SETTLEMENT - Class Members who support the proposed
        settlement, do not need to appear at the approval hearing. Those
        impacted may contact Class Counsel at the address below to advise him
        of their support.

    -   SUBMIT A CLAIM FOR COMPENSATION - If the settlement is approved by
        the court, in order to be eligible to receive compensation,
        individuals must complete, sign, and return a Claim Form and provide
        other required information within specified time limits. Further
        details on how to make a claim will be set out in a further published
        notice that will be issued if the Class Action is certified and the
        proposed settlement approved. Information and status updates will
        also be available at

    -   OBJECT TO THE SETTLEMENT - Class Members who wish to appear at the
        approval hearing or object to this proposed settlement, are required
        to submit a written objection letter to Class Counsel no later than
        August 28, 2009. Class Counsel will file copies of all objections
        with the court.

    -   OPT OUT - If the court approves the settlement, the future rights of
        impacted individuals to make a claim will be controlled and bound by
        the court's order, the release and other provisions of the
        settlement; unless a Class Member chooses to exclude himself or
        herself from the settlement class (this is called "opting out"). The
        process and deadline for Opting Out will be published in a further
        notice that will be issued if the class action is certified and the
        proposed settlement is approved and will be available at


    At the approval hearing, Class Counsel will request that the court
approve payment of up to $400,000.00 out of the Costs Fund, for acting as
Class Counsel.
    Class Members can retain the services of Class Counsel to represent them
to make a claim under the class action settlement or Class Members can retain
their own lawyer to make a claim, or they can represent themselves. Use of a
lawyer is recommended. Any legal fee arrangement will be reviewed by the Judge
for reasonableness.

    -   For more information, or to register to obtain notice of approval of
        the settlement, visit:

    or contact Class Counsel at the address below:

    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

    -   Please note, 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: or to register to obtain notice of approval of
the settlement, visit: or contact Class Counsel at
the address below: 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, Email:

Organization Profile


More on this organization

Custom Packages

Browse our custom packages or build your own to meet your unique communications needs.

Start today.

CNW Membership

Fill out a CNW membership form or contact us at 1 (877) 269-7890

Learn about CNW services

Request more information about CNW products and services or call us at 1 (877) 269-7890