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The Globe and Mail

Supreme Court won’t hear case involving Sydney tar ponds lawsuit

Warning signs are posted on the fence surrounding the tar ponds in Sydney, N.S. on Jan. 28, 2007.


Cape Breton residents who launched a class-action lawsuit claiming the Sydney tar ponds exposed them to contaminants will not have their case heard by the Supreme Court of Canada.

The Nova Scotia Court of Appeal overturned the certification of a class-action lawsuit in December, 2013.

The appeal court decision came after lawyers for the provincial and federal governments argued that the provincial Supreme Court judge erred in certifying the case because there are too many differences in the individual cases for the matter to be heard as a class-action lawsuit.

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The appeal court judges agreed, finding that there was too much variance in the issues affecting the class members and that a class-action suit was not the best way to proceed.

The original lawsuit was filed by local residents Neila MacQueen, Joe Petitpas, Ann Ross and Iris Crawford, who are seeking compensation and a medical monitoring fund for contamination resulting from the operation of the steel plant between 1967 and 2000.

As usual, the Supreme Court did not give reasons for its decision not to hear the case.

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