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Abused and Injured Children Win Right To Pursue Class Action Against Alberta Government

(4/18/2012) On September 18, 2008, the Plaintiffs received Court approval to pursue a Class Action lawsuit on behalf of all people who were wards or under the Guardianship of the Province of Alberta. The Government of Alberta failed to protect the legal rights of children by failing to take all appropriate steps to apply for compensation or file lawsuits for the children after they had been injured. The Class Action covers the time period from 1966 to 2008 and potentially applies to thousands of people. Currently there are already approximately 400 individuals who have contacted the Plaintiffs' lawyers asking to be part of the Class Action lawsuit.

The decision to certify the lawsuit as a Class Action would result in all of the common issues being dealt with in a single legal proceeding, rather than 400 hundred or possibly thousands of individual lawsuits.

Unfortunately, the Government filed an Appeal of the decision on September 25, 2008 to the Court of Appeal. The Government wants to have hundreds or thousands of individual lawsuits for the violation of the children's rights.

The Plaintiffs are extremely disappointed in the Government and the Public Trustee's decision to Appeal the decision to certify the lawsuit as a Class Action. Some of the children have waited since 1966 to receive the compensation that they ought to have received 4 decades ago. Others suffer severe psychological and emotional problems and live in poverty. The Appeal will delay their opportunity to obtain timely compensation and will force some of them to continue to live in conditions of poverty until the Appeal and the eventual trial of this case are resolved in Court.

After the lawsuit was filed, the Government changed their policy so that children in the care of the Government are now required to receive proper legal representation, however, children whose rights were affected prior to the change in the policy will have to wait until the lawsuit is completed before they can receive the compensation that the children were entitled to.

In addition, the Plaintiffs are concerned about the legal costs that hundreds of lawsuits will have for the Plaintiffs and for the taxpayers of Alberta. The Plaintiffs are mindful that the single lawsuit by Lorne Goddard against Stockwell Day cost taxpayers of Alberta $792,064.40. Most of those costs were as a result of legal costs and legal fees and did not go to the Plaintiff, Mr. Goddard, Ward Branch of the Vancouver law firm of Branch MacMaster, G. Alan Meikle, Q.C., Susan Bercov and Edwina Podemsky of Alberta Justice, Legal Services represent the Government of Alberta in this lawsuit.

W. Scott Schlosser, Q.C. of the law firm of Schlosser Cook, represents the Public Trustee of Alberta, who has also been named as a Defendant in the lawsuit. Mr. Schlosser has indicated that the Public Trustee also intends to Appeal the decision to certify the lawsuit as a Class Action.

The three law firms that are representing the plaintiffs in this Class Action lawsuit are:

Robert P. Lee
7904 – 103 Street, Edmonton, Alberta
T6E 6C3
Phone: 780 438 4972

Docken & Company Attention: Clint Docken
900, 8 - 6th Ave. S.W. Calgary, Alberta
T2P 3G3
Phone: 403 269-3612

Klein Lyons
Attention: David Klein
1100 - 1333 West Broadway Vancouver, B.C.
V6H 4C1
Phone: 604 874-7180

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