Friday, March 13, 2009

Canadian BSE class action suit focused on settlement

If the federal government wants to flow aid to Canada's punch-drunk beef cattle sector, it couldn't do much better than to settle with the ranchers now suing it. That's how Toronto lawyer Cameron Pallett, the lawyer for Niagara Falls-area cattle producer Bill Sauer, plans to press his case with officials in Ottawa to settle Sauer's class-action suit out of court. Sauer is the representative plaintiff for a class that includes all Canadian cattle producers (outside Quebec, that is, where a related and certified class action suit by producer Donald Berneche continues). The two suits claim negligence within the government led directly to the BSE-related closure of the U.S. border and other foreign ports. If successful, Pallett said, the suits stand to benefit about 135,000 producers in all. Justice Joan Lax of the Ontario Superior Court, in certifying Sauer's suit as a class action last fall, said Ridley's settlement "focuses the litigation on the party that is capable of providing meaningful compensation to class members." The lawsuits' allegations against the government and individual federal bureaucrats have not yet been proven in court...Grainews

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