Quebec sits down at negotiating table in Highway 13 class-action lawsuit
The night of March 14, 2017, is one that many will never forget.
About 300 vehicles were trapped overnight in their cars on Highway 13, after heavy snow and an accident led to a complete standstill.
Some were stuck in their cars for more than 12 hours.
Jacques Laramée was on the highway that night.
He was heading to Saint-Constant from Saint-Jerome when traffic came to a halt.
“There were no one,” said Laramée. “There were no firefighters — there was nothing. I was stuck in my car on the 13 for 10 hours.”
On Wednesday, one of the lawyers in the class-action lawsuit announced that negotiations towards a settlement are currently underway.
Marc-Antoine Cloutier says Quebec is willing to try to negotiate — while the city of Montreal flat out refused.
“We think the government had a big responsibility in what happened that night,” he said. “People lived through a traumatic experience and it’s important that they received compensation and receive recognition.”
A report released last year by investigator Florent Gagné concluded authorities underestimated the severity of the problems and communicated poorly with each other.
Last November, a Quebec Superior Court judge approved the class-action lawsuit against the province and the city.
The complainants are seeking $2,000 in damages and an additional $500 in punitive damages.
Victims say more than just the money, they want authorities to take responsibility.
“I want the message to be heard, so that this situation never happens again, in Montreal, Quebec or anywhere else,” said Laramée.
Cloutier says if negotiations toward a settlement aren’t successful, the case will go to trial in the fall.
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