Lawyer representing Red Hill Valley Parkway class-action ‘disappointed’ judge dismissed claim

The northbound lanes of the Red Hill Valley Parkway. A Superior Court Justice dismissed the certification of a $250 million claim from the families of crash victims on June 20, 2022. Global News

A lawyer from one of two firms handling a multi-million-dollar class-action lawsuit tied to crashes on the Red Hill Valley Parkway (RHVP) says his clients are “disappointed” with a judge’s decision to dismiss the claim.

Robert Hooper, from the firm Grosso Hooper, says the group will need another few days to make a determination on whether there are grounds for an appeal and if one will be pursued.

“Clearly for the potential class members we are disappointed in the result,” Hooper told Global News in statement.

“Our team is in the process of reviewing the judgment to determine if an appeal is warranted. We are meeting in the coming week to make a final decision.”

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Superior court Justice David L. Edwards dismissed certification in a decision on Monday saying the claim didn’t meet the threshold to go forward.

He suggested the current judicial inquiry, led Justice Herman Wilton-Siegel, may strengthen a future claim by creating more public scrutiny than the class action brought forward.

“If the allegations against the city are proven to be true, this is indeed a matter for significant public concern,” Edwards said in his decision.

The $250-million class-action attempt alleged improper design and maintenance of the RHVP have resulted in numerous crashes since the thoroughfare’s opening in 2007.

Two Hamilton law firms, Grosso Hooper and Scarfone Hawkins, are representing the families at the forefront of the claim – relatives of Corinne Klassen, a London, Ont., homemaker who was left disabled by a crash on the highway in 2007, and of Michael Sholer, who died in a 2017 crash on the RHVP.

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The claim drew much of its evidence from a 2013 Tradewind Scientific report, which analyzed friction levels on the parkway and suggested some safety issues with the roadway.

The audit recommended “remedial actions” and an investigation of the asphalt after friction values were discovered to be “below or well below” United Kingdom safety standards, which were used as a benchmark in the study.

The report came to light in 2018 when the new director of engineering services for the City of Hamilton came across the Tradewind study and its recommendations for “further examination of the pavement surface, composition and wear performance” and “more investigatory work.”

The claim alleged three failures by the city tied to the construction of the roadway, and two connected to failing to disclose the third-party report to the public.

The matter is the subject of the Red Hill Valley Parkway Inquiry (RHVPI) – commissioned by the city in February of 2019 to answer questions about the Tradewind report – currently in it’s ninth week of hearings.

City lawyer Eli Lederman, in an update to the city’s general issues committee in early April, said the cost of the inquiry climbed to $13.2 million.

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Hamilton’s legal staff have gone on record to say the final cost could hit between $18 million and $20 million by the time it is completed.

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