Aerial photo of devestation - Date/Photographer unknown.
12 July 2013
Lake Megantic Class-Action Lawsuit Certain with Many Defendants
Lake Megantic Quebec - The Lake Megantic train disaster is certain to yield a class-action lawsuit worth, possibly, hundreds of millions of dollars and involve a number of defendants.
One law firm, Siskinds LLP, is weighing up whether to be the first to launch a massive class action suit, which is certain to come in the wake of a disaster that has seen 28 people lose their lives with the toll expected to rise to 50.
While Maine Montreal & Atlantic Railway Inc. is certain to be included in any lawsuit as the railway company carrying the heavy cargo of crude oil, its lack of apparent assets could mean that several other parties be included in any suit.
Any lawsuit could include the following defendants:
- Maine Montreal & Atlantic Railway Inc.;
- The Canadian government. If the federal government failed in terms of regulations and oversight;
- Irving Oil. Irving owned the Western Bakken Crude oil from North Dakota that would ultimately cause heavy explosions that decimated the Eastern Townships town. Irving could be included if it's proven the company did not arrange for proper transport of its hazardous product;
- The community of Nantes. The neighboring town, 13 kilometres west of Lake Megantic, may be included if the investigation reveals the volunteer fire department did something to trigger the release of the train.
"Given the scores of people killed and the infrastructure destroyed, the businesses that undoubtedly have lost income because of this event, one would imagine the damages ultimately will be vastly in excess of a hundred million dollars and quite possibly a multiple of that," said Dimitri Lascaris of Siskinds, which is a law firm based in London, Ontario, but with an affiliate in Quebec.
Siskinds is seriously weighing whether to launch a massive class action suit on behalf of the many victims. If they do not, another law firm surely will.
In Quebec, the first firm to file a class action suit is generally given the entire case provided a judge feels the firm can handle it.