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December 6, 2002

Deaf students' class action faces shutdown

From: CBC British Columbia, Canada - 06 Dec 2002

VICTORIA - The provincial government has gone to court to block a class action lawsuit by former residents of the Jericho Hill School for the Deaf in Vancouver.

The attorney general says he took the action to decertify the class action suit because of new evidence that's come forward, that wasn't available when the class action suit was launched. But there was no further detail provided.

* LINK: Government announcement (PDF)

More than 300 people are seeking compensation for years of abuse they say they suffered at the school.

In 1995, the previous NDP government agreed to offer victims up to $60,000 each in compensation.

Many of them took the money, but some said it was totally inadequate. They were also upset the compensation was for sexual abuse only, not physical or emotional abuse.

Last year, the Supreme Court of Canada gave the victims approval to launch a class action lawsuit.

Victoria lawyer Anne Sheane who represents the former Jericho residents, says the motion would force the 350 people to file individual lawsuits.

"I think the point is, it's not practical, efficient or economical at all, which is why the B.C. Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada certified this case as a class action to start with."

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