ST. JOHN'S, Newfoundland, June 22, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador authorized this, and other forms of notice, as part of a notification program to inform former students of the Lockwood, Yale, Makkovik, Nain and St. Anthony schools and their families about their legal rights in class action lawsuits.
Former students and their families have sued the Federal Government of Canada about the management and operation of the Lockwood, Yale, Makkovik, Nain and St. Anthony schools and the harms and abuses committed against the children who attended them. The lawsuits include two groups of people called a Survivor Class and Family Class. You are part of the Survivor Class if you attended the Lockwood School, the Yale School, the Nain Boarding School, the Makkovik Boarding School, or St. Anthony's Orphanage anytime after March 31, 1949. You are part of the Family Class if you are (a) the spouse, child, grandchild, parent, grandparent or sibling of a Survivor Class Member; (b) the spouse of a child, grandchild, parent, grandparent or sibling of a Survivor Class Member; (c) a former spouse of a Survivor Class Member; (d) a child or other ancestor of a grandchild of a Survivor Class Member; (e) someone who cohabitated with a Survivor Class Member for at least one year before they died; (f) someone who supported or was legally required to support a Survivor Class Member until they died; or (g) someone who was supported by a Survivor Class Member for at least three years prior to their death.
The lawsuits claim that the Government exposed former students to child abuse, neglect, and physical, emotional, psychological and sexual abuse. They also claim that the Government did not protect students' physical and mental well-being even though it was its duty to do so. The lawsuits seek money or benefits for Survivor and Family Class Members.
The Government denies that it had a responsibility to protect the children who attended these schools. It claims that all it did was provide money to the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador to be used for the educational needs of Aboriginal persons.
The Court has not decided who is right. The lawyers for the former students and their families will have to prove their claims at trials which are scheduled to begin in September 2013. The Court appointed the law firms of Koskie Minsky LLP of Toronto, Ontario, Ches Crosbie Barristers of St. John's, Newfoundland and Ahlstrom Wright Oliver & Cooper LLP of Sherwood Park, Alberta to represent former students and their families as "Class Counsel."
Class Members who are residents of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador have a choice about whether to stay in the lawsuits or exclude themselves. These Class Members don't have to do anything to stay in the lawsuits. They will be notified if any money or benefits become available from the trials or possible settlements. But, they will give up their right to sue the Government about what happened to them or their family member at these schools. Class Members who want to be excluded from the lawsuits must submit an Exclusion Request Form by November 30, 2012. Class Members who are no longer residents of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador have a choice about whether to join the lawsuits or not. To join the lawsuits you must submit an Opt-In Request Form by November 30, 2012. Exclusion Request Forms and Opt-In Request Forms are available at www.NewfoundlandRScases.ca. Class Members who ask to be excluded or choose not to join the lawsuits will not be able to get any money or benefits from these lawsuits if any are received. But, they will keep the right to sue the Government on their own about what happened to them or their family member at these schools.
SOURCE Koskie Minsky LLP