Victims of Lac-Megantic disaster close to receiving part of $450-million fund

Lawyers for victims of the Lac-Megantic train disaster are recommending their clients accept a motion that would allow Canadian Pacific Railway to stop blocking hundreds of millions of dollars in settlement money, an attorney said Thursday.

MONTREAL — Lawyers for victims of the Lac-Megantic train disaster are recommending their clients accept a motion that would allow Canadian Pacific Railway to stop blocking hundreds of millions of dollars in settlement money, an attorney said Thursday.

Jeff Orenstein, whose Consumer Law Group represents the victims of the derailment, said attorneys from all sides have agreed to recommend giving Canadian Pacific (TSX:CP) legal assurances in exchange for it dropping its appeal against the $450-million fund.

He said his clients and the Quebec government — also plaintiffs in the case — still need to be consulted and haven’t yet given the green light to the motion that was recently tabled by lawyers for Montreal Maine and Atlantic Railroad (MMA), the now-defunct firm at the centre of the disaster that killed 47 people on July 6, 2013.

Orenstein said he and the attorneys for the Quebec government “would support the motion. But neither of us felt comfortable saying we agree without both of our clients saying officially they also agreed.”

He said Quebec Superior Court Justice Gaetan Dumas has given them until Tuesday evening to confirm, in writing, that the motion is officially accepted by all sides.

If that happens, CP has said it will drop its appeal and the settlement money could begin to be distributed to victims by the end of the year.

MMA didn’t have enough insurance to pay damages to victims and creditors, so it filed for bankruptcy in the United States and Canada. The settlement fund is tied to the bankruptcy proceedings in both countries.

CP has been the only company accused in the derailment to not participate in the settlement fund and over the summer sought leave to appeal the fund.

All the other companies that offered money to victims were to be released from legal liability for the derailment.

CP objected to the motion for several reasons, notably because the company thought it wouldn’t be able to defend itself if it was taken to court by any of the firms released from legal liability.

MMA’s motion offers CP legal assurances that if it is taken to court and loses, it can’t be asked to pay for the same damages already paid out by other firms, Orenstein said.

Patrice Benoit, lawyer for MMA, said Thursday that CP can still be held liable for the derailment.

“There is absolutely no concession that has been granted to Canadian Pacific,” he said outside the courtroom in Granby, Que., 80 kilometres east of Montreal.

“What Canadian Pacific has offered — and what we have accepted subject to us agreeing on the language — is to withdraw all its appeals in Canada and the United States.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

If you're heading out to the West Country have a plan in case things go wrong, says Clearwater Regional Fire Rescue Services fire chief Steve Debienne.
(Photo from CRFRS Facebook)
West Country visitors should have an emergency plan: regional fire chief

Cellphones can’t be relied on in many back country areas

Rode
Sarcevic leads an impressive list of additions to RDC Kings soccer

In 2019 the RDC Kings soccer program took a major step forward… Continue reading

The Red Deer PCN Women's Fun Run will take on a different look this weekend with rising COVID-19 numbers.
Women’s Fun Run goes ahead this weekend in Red Deer

With new public health measures in place because of rising COVID-19 case… Continue reading

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw asked Albertans to limit travel throughout the province as COVID-19 cases continue to rise. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Red Deer nears 900 active COVID-19 cases

Province reports additional 2,211 COVID-19 cases

David Eggen, the NDP’s advanced education critic, said the UCP government has been focused on cutting funding to post-secondary institutions across Alberta. (Contributed photo)
NDP worry new status for Red Deer College doesn’t mean more funding

This week the province announced that RDC will become a polytechnic institute

Alberta Health Services locked the Whistle Stop Cafe in Mirror on Wednesday morning after owner Christopher Scott refused to comply with health orders. (Photo by Paul Cowley/Advocate staff)
UPDATED: AHS shuts down Whistle Stop Cafe for defying health orders

Justice minister promises to get tough with those ignoring public health orders

Wizards beat Raptors in OT, Toronto playoff bid nearly over

Wizards beat Raptors in OT, Toronto playoff bid nearly over

Toronto Blue Jays' Teoscar Hernandez (37) hits a single to drive in two runs against the Oakland Athletics during the sixth inning of a baseball game in Oakland, Calif., on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
Grichuk drives in 5, Jays beat A’s 10-4 for series split

Grichuk drives in 5, Jays beat A’s 10-4 for series split

Canada's Sports Hall of Fame 2019 inductee Jayna Hefford speaks in Toronto on Wednesday, October 23, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Three Canadian teams to play in women’s hockey Dream Gap Tour in Calgary

Three Canadian teams to play in women’s hockey Dream Gap Tour in Calgary

Rugby Canada says some members of women’s sevens team have tested positive for COVID

Rugby Canada says some members of women’s sevens team have tested positive for COVID

Team Canada skip Kerri Einarson, centre, makes a shot as lead Briane Meilleur, left, and second Shannon Birchard sweep against Denmark at the Women's World Curling Championship in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, May 6, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Einarson’s five-game win streak ends with loss to Japan at world curling playdowns

Einarson’s five-game win streak ends with loss to Japan at world curling playdowns

FILE - In this Feb. 24, 2020, photo, the Olympics rings are reflected on the window of a hotel restaurant as a server with a mask sets up a table, in the Odaiba section of Tokyo. The vaccine rollout in Japan has been very slow with less than 1% vaccinated. This of course is spilling over to concerns about the postponed Tokyo Olympics that open in just over three months.(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)
Canadian athletes, coaches applaud news of vaccine doses ahead of Tokyo

Canadian athletes, coaches applaud news of vaccine doses ahead of Tokyo

Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion Carla Qualtrough holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Liberals pressed to ease access to EI parental leave to help unemployed moms

Liberals pressed to ease access to EI parental leave to help unemployed moms

Katie Telford, Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister, appears as a witness via videoconference during a House of Commons finance committee in Ottawa, Thursday, July 30, 2020. The Canadian Press has learned that Katie Telford has written members of the defence committee inquiry into allegations of sexual misconduct against Canada's former top military commander, offering to testify at their meeting Friday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
PM’s chief of staff offers to testify on Vance sexual misconduct allegations

PM’s chief of staff offers to testify on Vance sexual misconduct allegations

Most Read