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June 2020 – COVID – 19 REOPENING: Class Action Suits

McKenzie Towne Continuing Care Center was hit extremely hard by COVID-19. There have been 114 confirmed pandemic cases to date, including 20 deaths.

The inability to interact or see their loved ones due to initial restrictions, affected and created a burden for many families. What made the experience even more devastating is that some people viewed that alternative means of action and care potentially could have been taken to prevent the spread within the facility.

Now, people are taking action. Recently a statement of claim was filed for $25 million in a class-action lawsuit against the owners of the facility, with the plaintiffs including current or former residents of the facility, some currently testing positive for the virus, and their families.

The class-action lawsuit claims there was negligence and a breach of duty of care, of the especially vulnerable segments of the population. This is just one example of an instance where it is logical for a group of people to commence an action, as a result of similar breaches, harm, or further damages. In this situation, one or more of the interested parties can sue or defend on behalf of the group in a representative suit.

The advantages of joining a class action include pooling of resources and documentation, reduced costs to individual claimants, and obtaining stronger leverage in order to negotiate a settlement.

Individual class actions need to be certified by the Court and an application should be made within 90 days of the other party filing a Statement of Defence in the action.

Class Actions are most appropriate in cases where it would be too expensive for plaintiffs to press their claims individually.

Some other more recent class-action suits that may be of interest to you include:

June 2019 – Capital One Credit Card Data breach – Around six million Canadians and 100 million Americans were affected by a data breach occurring about March 22-23, 2019, that allowed unauthorized access to the personal information of Capital One customers and those who applied for its credit cards between 2005 and 2019. The breach included income information, names, address e-mail addresses, birth dates, and phone numbers of those affected. One million social insurance numbers were also compromised.

The class action alleges that Capital One was negligent in failing to adequately protect and safeguard member’s private information, which included properly encrypting sensitive data. This would have compromised clients’ personal information by allowing for unauthorized access by an outside individual.

May 6, 2019 – Airbag Failure to Deploy – A class action suit has been launched against Hyundai, Kia, and ZF-TRW Automotive, over defective vehicle airbags that fail to operate during crashes due to electrical overstress. Subject vehicles are in the 2011 to 2019 timeframe. It is alleged that while the defect was discovered in 2011, it wasn’t until the end of 2018 that public the information came to light to warn consumers.

March 2, 2020 – Evenflo Big Kid Booster Car Seat – A class action against Evenflo Company Inc. has been launched for falsely and misleadingly representing and advertising its Big Kid car booster seat as safe for children as small as 40 pounds. Further, it is claimed that the tests that the company created to test their product were wholly inadequate to the real-life scenario of a parallel situation.

The Canadian Bar Association has a National Class Action Database that may be of use (https://www.cba.org/Publications-Resources/Class-Action-Database)

It is important to understand that sometimes people or corporations should be held accountable for their actions and that you may not be the only one that has been affect.

Steve Dimic

If you have any additional inquiries regarding any of the topics or if you have ideas for future topics, please feel free to email me at stevedimik@hotmail.com

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