The Ontario Superior Court of Justice has rejected a proposed settlement of a class action against the province for former Crown wards claiming compensation for abuse, based partly on representation by the Class Action Clinic at Windsor Law.
The clinic represented four former Crown wards who objected to the proposed settlement on the basis that it was not fair or reasonable given the evidence filed by counsel and the traumatic injuries experienced by class members.
Andrew Eckart, staff lawyer, with the assistance of law students Lyann Ordenes-Gonzalez and Katie Pfaff, filed written submissions with the court. Eckart and the clients also appeared at the hearing and made oral submissions.
On May 26, Justice Helen Pierce of the Ontario Superior Court released her decision rejecting the proposed settlement. She accepted the clinic’s submissions on the lack of evidence and on the scrutiny that judges must apply to proposed settlements. Class counsel is appealing the decision.
“Justice Pierce’s decision demonstrates how important class member voices are for judges to consider when assessing the fairness of the settlement,” says Eckart. “It is the clinic’s privilege to have advocated on behalf of former Crown wards who bravely shared their experiences with the court.”