Plaintiff’s lawyer remains hopeful the defendants will now engage in meaningful settlement discussions
Ontario Superior Court of Justice Judge Calum McLeod has certified the class action proceeding launched by the disgraced physician Vincent Nadon’s victims against the University of Ottawa, University of Ottawa Health Services, UOHS’ numbered management company, and Nadon.
“I have reviewed the consent to certification and the proposed litigation plan. I am satisfied that the factors set out in s. 5 (1) of the Class Proceedings Act, 1992, S.O. 1992, c. 6 (as amended to June 3, 2021) have been addressed and favour certification of this action as a class proceeding,” wrote the judge in his decision.
While Justice McLeod acknowledged that the definitions of a patient class and a family class appear to be appropriate, he believes that there are “numerous issues defined as common issues … that would be applicable to claims by all class members and are far more efficiently answered in a single common.”
A disagreement between the Ottawa defendants and the plaintiffs’ counsel regarding common issues outlined in the initial plaintiff’s motion ultimately led the plaintiffs to increase their prayer for relief to $500 million last month.
According to Sean Brown, one of the lawyers for the plaintiffs and a senior partner at Flaherty McCarthy LLP, the next step now is for them to advertise the notice of certification and option to opt-out of the suit in print and online media. This campaign will begin in early 2022, and will cost the plaintiffs between $50,000 and $75,000.
Although the motion states that victims will have until July 15, 2022, to opt-out of the suit, Brown says this is likely to change as all parties apart from one have consented to change the opt-out date to April 30, 2022.
“We anticipate the last defendant will as well,” wrote Brown to the Fulcrum in an email.
Unless the University changes course, victims will not be able to find the notice of certification on the University of Ottawa’s website. The Fulcrum previously reported that the U of O was withholding its consent to certification of the class action suit until the plaintiffs agreed that they did not have to post the notice on their website.
As for the next steps, Brown hopes the defendants will be willing to engage in conversations about a possible settlement.
“We remain hopeful that the defendants will now engage us in meaningful settlement discussions,” wrote the lawyer to the Fulcrum.
The University of Ottawa declined to comment on this story, citing this matter presently being before the courts as its reason.
The ByWard Family Health Team — the former UOHS — did not respond to the Fulcrum’s questions in time for the publication of this article.
This is a developing story.
–With files from Zoë Mason.