Friday, April 1, 2016

Evidence filed for Halifax air crash class action bid

Lawyers for passengers of the Air Canada flight that crash landed a year ago in Halifax will be in court in December for a certification hearing.

Friday—a year and two days after the crash—attorney Ray Wagner filed documents containing the initial pieces of evidence with the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia.

The motion will be heard before the Hon. Justice Denise Boudreau between December 12 and 15.

The hearing will determine whether the passengers as a group fit the criteria for a class action rather having to sue individually.

“A Class 2 action will give all the passengers access to the justice system without the formidable costs which would be borne by individual plaintiffs,” said Wagner.

Once a suit is certified, a notice goes to all passengers asking them whether they want to participate. If they don't respond, they are automatically assumed to be part of the suit.

The proposed action is against Air Canada, the Halifax International Airport Authority, NAVCanada, Airbus S.A.S. and Transport Canada.

Wagner said that after conversations with Air Canada, the pilots of AC624 have been taken out of the lawsuit.

“We understand they are still flying and we wanted to be empathetic to the fact they wanted to continue with their careers,” he said.

They will be questioned as part of discovery, but Air Canada has assumed responsibility for them, said Wagner.

Since last April, Wagner said 55 passengers have contacted their office to participate in the action in various degrees.

For several, this including giving permission for their medical records to be obtained and history examined in an effort to prove what they have lost as a result of the landing, he said.

Other passengers have undergone psychological and neurological testing related to PTSD and closed-head injuries.

He said it takes time to wait for a judge to be appointed to determine certification and didn't wait for the investigation by the Transportation Safety Board to conclude.

“That can take years,” he said.

TSB spokesperson Chris Krepski said the board can't predict when their report will be released.

“We have to take the time necessary to do a thorough investigation,” said, adding that investigators started their work immediately following the incident.

Original article can be found here:  http://thechronicleherald.ca

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