August 15, 2018 3:25 pm
Updated: August 15, 2018 7:25 pm

Quebec Court of Appeal allows Gilbert Rozon to challenge class-action lawsuit

Gilbert Rozon stepped down as president in October 2017 and sold his shares in the Just For Laughs company in response to sexual misconduct allegations.

Peter Power/The Canadian Press
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Quebec’s top court will allow Just For Laughs founder Gilbert Rozon to appeal a decision that authorized a class-action lawsuit brought against him by several women for alleged harassment and sexual assault.

Quebec Court of Appeal Justice Mark Schrager ruled Wednesday that three of his colleagues will hear Rozon’s legal challenge on a priority basis.

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READ MORE: Judge authorizes class-action against former Just for Laughs CEO Gilbert Rozon

The 63-year-old impresario is being sued for $10 million by a group of women known as “Les Courageuses” (“The Courageous Ones”), who allege he abused at least 20 women between 1982 and 2016.

Aside from actress Patricia Tulasne, the lead plaintiff in the case, the women’s identities have not been made public.

The allegations against Rozon have yet to be tested in court and he has not been charged criminally.

“We are very happy and we will surely have a very important (legal) debate when the case will be heard,” said Raymond Doray, one of Rozon’s lawyers.

In their motion seeking leave to appeal, his lawyers argued that Quebec Superior Court Justice Donald Bisson, who authorized the class-action last May, erred in doing so because class-actions are only permitted under specific conditions.

His defence team argued that for a collective action to be permitted, the reason for the action must be the same for all alleged victims.

They argued that wasn’t the case here and that a proof of the absence of consent will have to be established for each individual allegation.

READ MORE: Just for Laughs introduces new anti-harassment policy, addresses Gilbert Rozon scandal

Robert Kugler, the women’s lawyer, argued his clients were all allegedly assaulted or sexually harassed under the same modus operandi by someone who abused his power.

Kugler also noted not all the victims are known and others could be added as the case plays out.

READ MORE: Just for Laughs introduces new anti-harassment policy, addresses Gilbert Rozon scandalE

Rozon stepped down as president of Just For Laughs last year and an investor group bought the company in the spring.

He wasn’t present in court on Wednesday.

© 2018 The Canadian Press

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