Northwood Halifax COVID-19 Deaths
Erica Surette v. Northwoodcare Group Inc. et al
Nova Scotia Supreme Court File: Hfx No. 498376
Wagners filed a proposed class action lawsuit in the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, on June 1, 2020. The claim was amended on March 15, 2022.
The proposed class proceeding is filed on behalf of the Plaintiff against Northwoodcare Group Inc. and related entities, and the Province of Nova Scotia. The lawsuit seeks damages on behalf of the Plaintiff and other individuals who are entitled to bring an action under the Fatal Injuries Act, R.S.N.S. 1989, c. 163, including the spouse, common-law partner, parent or children of residents of the Northwood Halifax Long-Term Care Facility who passed away due to COVID-19 or COVID-19 related complications from March 15 to June 30, 2020.
The lawsuit alleges that Northwood Halifax’s practices, policies, and procedures, and lack thereof, caused the viral spread of COVID-19 through elderly and vulnerable residents as well as staff, causing untimely death to residents, and harms, losses, and damages to their surviving family members. The lawsuit further alleges that the Province’s systemic underfunding of long-term care homes left residents at increased risk to the rapid spread of infection, and that the Province was negligent in its regulation and oversight of Northwood. It is alleged that the Defendants had full knowledge of the dangers and health risks posed by a COVID-19 pandemic to which its residents were uniquely vulnerable; yet, they maintained the status quo at the cost of numerous individuals’ safety and lives.
In Nova Scotia, Northwood has been called the epicentre of this highly contagious and deadly virus, and it holds claim to the vast majority of deaths due to COVID-19, province-wide.
To inform us of your interest and determine if you qualify for inclusion in Wagners’ proposed class action, please fill out this registration form. If you have any concerns or questions please contact us by phone or email at [email protected].
Pour nous informer de votre intérêt et déterminer si vous remplissez les conditions pour être inclus dans l’action prospective de Wagners, veuillez remplir ce formulaire d’inscription. Si vous avez des préoccupations ou des questions, veuillez nous contacter par téléphone ou par e-mail à [email protected].
Updates & Latest Developments
Since amending our pleadings to officially include the Province of Nova Scotia, we have contacted the Court and been appointed a Case Management Judge. A Case Management Judge oversees and manages the proceedings, including setting a schedule for certification (the next major step in a class action). They also give directions and can help settle any conflicts between us and Defence counsel.
We will be meeting with the Case Management Judge and Defence counsel late this summer to schedule dates for the certification hearing and the procedural steps to be taken beforehand. At the case management meeting, we will be advocating to push towards certification as soon as possible. We anticipate that the certification hearing will be scheduled between nine months to a year thereafter which will allow for the parties to file their evidentiary record and legal arguments, though delays arising from COVID-19 may impact Court availability.
At certification, the Judge will assess whether the action should proceed as a class action. The hearing is about the form the action will take, not about assessing the merits of the Plaintiff’s allegations. If the case is certified, the merits will be assessed at a common issues trial.
Wagners has filed an Amended Notice of Action and Statement of Claim to officially add the Province of Nova Scotia as a defendant in the proposed class action regarding the handling of the COVID-19 outbreak at Northwood Halifax, which lead to at least 53 resident deaths.
The amended allegations detail the Province’s repeated budget cuts and freezes to long-term care spending that left residents at increased risk to the rapid spread of infectious disease. The pleadings further allege the Province was negligent in its regulation and oversight of Northwood, including in its disregard for known licensing issues and health and safety violations.
Please see the Documents section to view the Amended Notice of Action and Statement of Claim.
The next steps involve seeking a case management judge to oversee and manage the litigation, and setting dates for the certification hearing and for steps leading up to the hearing.
A Notice of Intended Action was formally served on the Province of Nova Scotia on June 23, 2020. The Notice is required pursuant to the Nova Scotia Proceedings Against the Crown Act to inform the Province in advance that it will be added as a defendant in the proposed class action regarding the devastating COVID-19 outbreak at Northwood Halifax, filed on June 1, 2020.
The Notice of Intended Action alleges that the Province was negligent in various ways, which caused or contributed to the unsafe operation of Northwood Halifax, leading to the deaths of 53 residents throughout April and May of 2020.
LINKS TO MEDIA
On June 1, 2020 a Notice of Action and Statement of Claim was filed in the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia against Northwoodcare Group Inc. and associated entities in relation to the deaths that occurred at Northwood Manor in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Please see the Documents section to view the Notice of Action and Statement of Claim.