Outbreak of legionnaires ‘ disease in Quebec city in 2012: the group’s collective action is growing

Éclosion de légionellose à Québec en 2012: le groupe de l’action collective s’agrandit

A quarantine of people come to be added to the group that has filed a class action in the wake of the outbreak of legionnaires ‘ disease that has been 13 deaths in Quebec city in 2012. The collective action against the authorities of public health, the Attorney general of Québec and the Centrale des syndicats du Québec (CSQ) is now nearly 220 people, including an Australian who was visiting the capital this summer.

In a judgment delivered Monday, the superior Court allowed the application for amendment of the group in the class action filed by the prosecutors of Solange Allen, whose husband died on August 19, 2012 in the aftermath of the legionnaires ‘ disease.

The prosecutors of Ménard Martin Avocats put the hand in February last on the record of the epidemiological investigation of the regional Director of public health in the National Capital, which was approximately 180, the number of victims of the legionnaires ‘ disease. In the meantime, they have received calls from people saying they had the disease. These people have passed on their medical record. By comparing the two lists, the attorneys for plaintiff have seen a difference.

These people would have been infected with the bacteria without that there is not any statement made to the regional Director of public health under the system MADO (notifiable diseases). They have either received a diagnosis of legionnaires ‘ disease following a urine antigen testing positive without that their doctor has notified the public health, they have either presented the symptoms of the disease without having a urine test positive.

According to the expert John Joly, whose report was filed in the Court file, the urine test would only be valid in 80 % of cases of people with legionnaires ‘ disease. In other words, 20% would be sick without that the urine test does not confirm this.

More than 200 victims

In total, approximately 37 individuals who allegedly contracted legionnaires ‘ disease in Quebec city in 2012 without that their case be forwarded to the public health, according to the lawyer Jean-Pierre Ménard. These victims, in addition to 180, are believed to be a large majority in Quebec. An Australian tour in the capital this summer-there would have also contracted the disease.

The public health authorities, the Attorney general of Quebec and the CSQ, the owner of the cooling tower to the outbreak, were opposed to the request of the prosecutors of Solange Allen, arguing, inter alia, that the use of persons not covered by the initial authorisation to exercise collective action was prescribed.

The defendants have also pleaded that the only way for a potential new member to be part of the group is to have had a urine test positive and that his case had been forwarded to the public health.

In its judgment, the superior Court recalled that the civil Code contains a provision that allows a person not to become subject to the prescription of his remedy : the inability to act. She points out that persons called to be part of the group of victims of the legionnaire’s disease may not know if a statement has been filed or not, this document is not being transmitted to the public health.

“Is this, that the potential new members of the group, victims of the legionnaires’ disease, should be penalized because their physician did not complete a form [of statement of a MADO]? Can you penalize a victim who does not know that she is no longer part of the group? Ask the question is to answer it,” wrote judge Clement Samson.

The judge Samson considers that at the stage of editing a group, it is “not useful” to discuss the criteria allowing to say that a person would be in infringement of legionnaires ‘ disease, these issues should be debated on the merits.

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