Two court requests have been filed to sue the Quebec government over a pile-up on Highway 13 last week that left hundreds of drivers stranded for hours in a winter blizzard.
Now it’s up to a judge to decide which lawsuit will prevail.
For 13 hours, Marlene Berman and hundreds of others were stuck on a snowed-in Highway 13.
“To have to pee in your car, to have to defecate in your lunchbox, to have to look at your blood sugar and wonder if you’re going to get into a diabetic coma…” Berman said.
The ordeal prompted legal firm Trudel Johnston to file a request for a class action lawsuit last Thursday.
The firm is asking for a $2,000 compensation for each stranded person. But Berman isn’t happy about that.
“I felt insulted first and foremost, to have a bounty of $2,000 put on my head when money is not even the issue,” Berman clarified.
He believes the lawsuit should be carried through in the name of change, not money.
“I want the government to assure me as a citizen, that in the event of a catastrophe, be it whatever scenario that manifests itself, that somebody is gonna show up,” Berman added.
When she learned on Friday that Trudel Johnston lost its main plaintiff, she thought it was time to act.
Berman enlisted the help of another lawyer, Joey Zukran. They have now filed their own request with no specific dollar amount attached.
“Marlene called me and said, ‘Joey, I want change. I want the government to implement measures that when there’s an emergency I either have an app, I have somebody I can tweet,'” Zukran said.
Zukran and Berman are now going head-to-head against the Trudel Johnston law firm.
On Monday morning, Trudel Johnston modified its request. The firm is now also asking for $500 in punitive damages. The firm is also expanding the scope of its lawsuit.
“We realized by talking to people that the 520 had also been blocked and all we had heard is the 13,” Trudel Johnston lawyer Jean-Marc Lacourcière said.
A date has not been set to determine which lawsuit will prevail.
On Thursday, Zukran will hold an information session for those who were stuck on Highway 13 during last week’s blizzard.
Participants are asked to come forward and share their stories.
The meeting will be at 8 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza on Côte-de-Liesse.