A court has said it will decide before Labor Day if a class action case against Restigouche hospital shall proceed. The case is alleging decades of malpractice at the hospital.
A statement of claim has named the NB government and the Vitalite Health Network as key defendants. It was filed three years ago on behalf of various patients who had been treated or resided at the facility for the last 67 years. The suit seeks reparations worth $500m.
The suit alleges that the health authorities and the province were ignorant of what was going on at the psychiatric facility. The suit also pointed to a breach of section 15 or Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This section protects those with mental issues from any kind of discrimination.
Justice Tracey DeWare presided over the three-day certification process. This hearing was a routine step that would help determine if the case can proceed. The court said it would take several months to assess the 25000 – 30000 pages before her before making a determination.
Reid Smith and Darrel Tidd represent the plaintiffs. They are litigation guardians and fathers for sons Aaron Smith and Devan Tidd who were once patients at the facility.
The hearing began on Tuesday with Lawyer James Sayce, representing the plaintiffs, making the argument as to why the case should go on.
The defense lawyer, Denis Theriault, said that a class action isn’t the way to solve the allegations, noting that there isn’t enough commonality between those who were residents at the facility.
In reaction, Sayce said that this claim ignores those who had been harmed going back many years.
Lawyer for Vitalite, Talia Profit, said that the reparation being sought by the class action will harm efforts by the health authority to improve health care at the Restigouche.