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The law firms of Brock Medical Malpractice Law PC and Oatley Vigmond LLP together have started a class action lawsuit against Roberta Place located on Essa Road in Barrie, Ontario.

What is a class action?

A class action is a mechanism by which a group of similarly situated people come together to prosecute a lawsuit based on a common claim as a class, instead of as separate individuals. A class action generally consists of one or more named individuals as the “class representative(s),” and additional unnamed “class members.” The class representative takes an active role in pursuing the class action on behalf of all the class members. Marcella Lambie, whose brother George Head is a resident of Roberta Place, is the class representative in this proposed class action. Ms. Lambie alleges on her brother’s behalf, and on behalf of all the class members, that Roberta Place failed to protect its residents from the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to a devastating outbreak that infected most of its residents and claimed many lives.

Who is in the “class”?

The following individuals can be part of the class action lawsuit against Roberta Place:

(1) Anyone who tested positive for COVID-19 living in, or working at, Roberta Place from January 10, 2020 onward;
(2) The estates of all individuals who died while living in, or working at, Roberta Place from January 10, 2020 onward; and
(3) The family members of individuals referred to in (1) and (2). Family members include spouses, children, grandchildren, and siblings of individuals referred to in (1) and (2).

Why a “class action”?

Gaining access to justice is one of the main reasons why class action lawsuits are advanced. A class action is designed for situations in which several people have suffered similar injuries as a result of a defendant’s actions. Class actions are appropriate when the damages claimed by each plaintiff (the person who is alleging wrongdoing) is too modest for individual claims to be pursued economically. The fact is, the cost of litigation greatly exceeds the value of each individual Roberta Place claim. However, when plaintiffs advance all of these claims together as one large “class”, then the cost of litigation becomes more feasible. Class actions also relieve the Courts from hearing hundreds and sometimes thousands of individual smaller claims. Lastly, class actions are often pursued when the class members seek justice and want to hold the defendant accountable for its actions.

What is “certification”?

A proposed class action does not become a class action unless and until the court certifies that the case satisfies the criteria set out in the law. If the class representative and her legal team can demonstrate to the court that the action meets certain criteria, the court will certify it as a class action.

What are my obligations?

Class members do not actively participate in the litigation. However, class members have obligations to other class members, to the class representative, and to their lawyers. We ask that you give us all the information you have, or have access to, which could help us in working on your class action lawsuit. If necessary, we will ask you to give us written
authorizations to obtain copies of important documents relating to the issues in this lawsuit. Most importantly, we ask that you be honest with us. We can only do our best job if we have your trust and we are fully informed.

If I change my mind, can I “opt out” of the class action?

Any member of the class action may opt out of the lawsuit. All class members will be formally notified of how to opt out of the class action, and when the deadline is for doing so.

If the class action settles, how does the settlement money get dispersed?

If the class action is resolved in favour of the plaintiff class, members will be notified on how to receive a share of the settlement. Class members must provide proof at that time that they fall within the definition of the class and the extent of their damages suffered.

How do my lawyers get paid?

The class must be represented by a lawyer. Compensation for your lawyers primarily
comes through a contingency fee, meaning they only get paid if the case settles or if it
goes to trial and the plaintiffs win. Your lawyers get paid a percentage of what the class
wins. The lawyers’ contingency fee must be approved by a judge.

Will joining this class action lawsuit cost me anything?

Joining this class action will not cost you anything.

Are there any other proposed class action lawsuits against Roberta Place?

No. As of this date, there are no other proposed class action lawsuits against Roberta Place. The Lambie class action is the only proposed lawsuit that has been filed in an Ontario courthouse.

I would like to be a part of the class action lawsuit. What are my next steps?

If you or a family member who falls within the definition of “class” as set out above would
like to be a part of the class action lawsuit against Roberta Place, you would:

1. Sign and date a copy of the class action retainer agreement;
2. Complete a Verification of Identity form as a requirement of the Law Society of
Ontario; and
3. Provide government-issued photo identification as a requirement of the Law
Society of Ontario.

Dated at Barrie: February 8, 2021

Any questions regarding the class-action lawsuit should be directed to Gayle Brock at Brock Medical Malpractice Law, 705-739-4022, gtbrock@brockmedmal.com or Robert Durante at Oatley Vigmond, 705-726-9021, rdurante@oatleyvigmond.com.