Cases » Sunnybrook » Update
In Reasons for Decisions released on August 25, 2009, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice has approved the settlement in the class proceeding Farkas v. Sunnybrook and Women’s College Health Sciences Centre. A formal, court-approved notice of the settlement approval will be delivered to the class sometime in September or October 2009. To view or download the settlement approval decision click here.
Sunnybrook Hospital - Unsterilized TRUS & Biopsy Class Action
NEW – The Settlement Approval hearing will proceed on in Toronto on:
Date: Monday, August 24, 2009
The representative plaintiff George Farkas (“Farkas”) and Sunnybrook have reached a proposed agreement to settle Mr. Farkas’ claim for damages arising from the alleged improper disinfection of the medical equipment used for the TRUS and prostate biopsy procedure. The lawsuit also alleges that Sunnybrook was negligent in notification and blood testing procedures employed after discovering the improper disinfection procedure. No one was infected as a result of the disinfection practice. Sunnybrook denies, and has made no admission of, liability as part of this proposed settlement.
Settlement Agreement - The complete terms of the settlement are set out in the settlement agreement. The settlement agreement is subject to court approval and has not yet been approved by the Court. To view or download a complete copy of the settlement agreement click here.
Settlement Approval Hearing – The Court must approve the settlement agreement for it to bind the parties or the class members.
To view or download a complete copy of the court approved notice of the settlement approval hearing click here.
A court fairness and settlement approval hearing is scheduled for August 24, 2009 in Toronto. Class members may attend the settlement hearing and may contact class counsel, as set out below, for the time and place of the hearing. The time and place of the hearing will be posted on this website.
If the Court is satisfied with the fairness of the settlement, it should be approved by the Court by way of written reasons to be delivered by the Court following the hearing.
If the Court does not approve the settlement agreement, the lawsuit will continue and a further notice will be sent advising Class Members that the settlement agreement has not been approved.
Proposed Settlement Terms – To settle the case, Sunnybrook has agreed to pay the total amount of $1.2 million to the class comprised of approximately 748 patient class members and an unknown number of spousal class members. From this amount the following will be deducted:
The remaining amount of $738,000 is to be divided among patient class members and spousal class members as follows:
No Tax Payable – As the foregoing amounts are considered compensation for personal injury, they are not taxable.
Settlement Principles & Charitable Donation – The defendant will pay $1,200,000 to the settlement fund, none of which will be refunded to the defendant. Patient and spousal class members may choose to donate all, or some (50%), of their compensation to either: i) The University of Toronto Centre for Patient Safety; or ii) Support prostate cancer patient care and research funded by the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Foundation. If they do so, class members will receive a tax receipt in the amount of their donation. The intention in establishing the donation option is to benefit all patients generally and persons at risk of or affected by prostate illness. The University of Toronto Centre for Patient Safety fosters novel research and education projects aimed at improving patient safety both locally and internationally.
Distribution of Unclaimed Amounts – In any class action settlement some class members may choose not to file a claim. This results in extra funds to be distributed before the settlement can be finalized. Accordingly, if Class Members elect to receive payment of the compensation, that payment may be increased by a further amount payable at a later date depending on the distribution of any extra funds. If 70% or more of the class members claim compensation, whether by receipt of a personal cheque or by donation, residual amounts of the settlement fund will be distributed 50% to the University of Toronto Centre for Patient Safety and 50% to class members. If fewer than 70% of the class members claim compensation, whether by receipt of a personal cheque or by donation, the extra funds will be donated 100% to the University of Toronto Centre for Patient Safety.
Loss of Income Claims – Sunnybrook has agreed to provide some compensation to class members for loss of income attributable to this proceeding, up to a total amount of $30,000 for the class. If the value of the approved loss of income claims exceeds $30,000, that amount will be divided proportionally among approved claims. Amounts paid for loss of income will be taxable.
Public Information Session – As part of the proposed settlement, Sunnybrook will conduct a public information session for class members to provide information about the infectious diseases that class members were screened for. The time and place of the information session will be announced at a later date.
Claiming Compensation - Class Members intending to claim compensation under this settlement, should following the “claiming compensation” instructions in section 3 of the court approved notice of the settlement approval hearing. (see link above).
How to Comment on the Settlement - Class members who wish to make submissions to the Court in support of, or in opposition to, the proposed settlement may provide notice to the Court by sending a written submission to REO. REO will forward any such submissions to Sunnybrook and to the Court. Submissions are optional -- no class member is required to make submissions -- and should be delivered to REO at the address below by no later than August 13, 2009.
The written submissions should include:
Further Information - Please address any requests for further information about this action, or any written submissions about the proposed settlement, to:
Koskie Minsky LLP
PLEASE DO NOT CALL OR CONTACT THE COURT ABOUT THIS CLASS ACTION.
Sunnybrook Unsterilized Trus & Biopsy Class Action
REO has commenced a class proceeding against Sunnybrook and Women's College Hospital in Toronto on behalf of patients of that hospital who were subject to improperly sterilized Transrectal Ultrasound ("TRUS") and Biopsy Equipment between December 3, 1999 and August 5, 2003. The improperly sterilized equipment exposed the patients to the risk of infection with the viruses that cause HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. George Farkas, of the City of Toronto, is the Representative Plantiff in this action.
The Statement of Claim alleges that between December 3, 1999 and August 5, 2003, Sunnybrook failed to properly sterilize the ultrasound wand used in the patients' TRUS and biopsy procedures. The Statement of Claim also alleges that while Sunnybrook became aware of the improper sterilization by no later than August 2003, it failed to take any steps to notify the class members until November 17, 2003.
This action was certified by Justice Cullity of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice on December 16, 2004.
The parties in this action attended a voluntary mediation on Friday, November 10, 2006 in an effort to reach an agreement to settle this matter but were unsuccessful in their attempts to do so. As such, REO is currently preparing for a trial of this action and will post the trial date as soon as the date is determined by the Court.
For more information about this class action please contact Adam Dewar firstname.lastname@example.org.
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