Deer Lake Canal Seepage

Dewey v. Kruger Inc. et al

Newfoundland & Labrador Supreme Court File: 2015 04G 0120 CP

Wagners and Bob Buckingham Law of St. John’s, NL commenced a proposed class action on behalf of individuals who own property damaged by excessive water seepage from the Humber River Canal. The action was filed on May 22, 2015 in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador.

The lawsuit alleges defects in the design, development and operation of the canal that have caused seepage and resulting property damage, and states that the Defendants failed to act responsibly to avoid this.

The two law firms, both with experience in class actions, and Wagners with experience in environmental class actions, are working cooperatively on behalf of the Plaintiffs and potential class members.

Numerous properties in Deer Lake have been damaged by many years of excessive water seepage from the Deer Lake Canal. The Deer Lake Canal runs from Grand Lake to the Kruger Hydroelectric Power Generating Station in Deer Lake, NL.

The canal was built approximately 90 years ago and since that time it has been seeping water which has been flooding the homes in the area. Many homes have suffered water damage, flooding and mould.

The lawsuit alleges defects in the design, development and operation of the canal and states that all Defendants failed to act responsibly to ensure the residents living beneath the Deer Lake Canal were protected from property damage and resulting risks of severe health problems caused by constant, persistent water seepage.

At this time it appears in excess of 350 homes are affected by the damage caused by the negligence and the ensuing nuisance as a result of the water seepage.

Updates & Latest Developments

As we have explained before, the first major step in a class action is to be certified as a class action by a judge. This involves a court hearing. Only if a class action is certified may it proceed to a trial of the action.

All parties have now exchanged their preliminary materials related to the application to obtain certification of the lawsuit as a class action. Cross-examinations on the affidavits and the exchanging of legal briefs are still required and we are in discussions with counsel for the defendants to develop a schedule for these events.

Unfortunately, as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 measures, we were advised by the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador that the hearing of the certification application that had been scheduled for November 2-4, 2020 would need to be rescheduled.

All parties participated in a Case Management Conference on July 15, 2020 before the Honourable Laura Mennie, Case Management Judge. The hearing of the application for certification will now proceed on May 26 to 28, 2021 in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador in Corner Brook.

We will provide further updates on the status of the action as the case progresses.

We also thank those of you who have completed your intake form. If you have yet to do so, please take a moment to complete it and return it to us, as it assists in maintaining an up to date list of class members.

Meanwhile, please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions by phoning us or emailing us at [email protected].

The Plaintiffs have had to respond to two preliminary motions brought by the Defendants. The more recent motion was successfully appealed by the Plaintiffs.

On March 19, 2019, the Court of Appeal of Newfoundland and Labrador released its decision in the Deer Lake Canal class action.

The decision confirmed that the plaintiffs have the right to pursue a class action against the Corner Brook Pulp and Paper Company.

The appeal court’s decision, Dewey v. Corner Brook Pulp and Paper Limited, 2019 NLCA 14, is available for viewing in PDF format.

The Plaintiffs can now move ahead with their application to certify the action. The Plaintiffs’ motion for certification will be heard on November 2 to 4, 2020 in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador in Corner Brook, NL.