Alexander (Sandy) Zaitzeff says he’s pleased that a Toronto-based law firm has dropped its class action lawsuit against the city in connection to the May 28 flooding.
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The Toronto law firm that filed a multi-million dollar class action lawsuit against the city has withdrawn its case.
Adair Morse LLP filed the $510 million lawsuit against the city on Oct. 29 2012. That lawsuit was the second filed against the city in the aftermath of the May flooding at the Atlantic Avenue Secondary Sewage Treatment Plant last year.
The Watkins law firm filed a claim of $320 million in June.
Both lawsuits accused the city of negligence, however none of the accusations have been proven.
Although two lawsuits were filed, a judge would have had to rule if either of the class action suits could proceed and even then, only one could move forward. But the lawsuit from the Toronto-based law firm was dropped last month leaving the door open for the Watkins law firm to take the suit.
Lawyer Jerome Morse said his law firm went through a reshuffling of resources and couldn’t meet the demands of the case. He explained that the residents who were part of his firm’s class action suit will still be involved in the existing suit.
“No one ‘signs on’ for a class-action case other than a proposed representative plaintiff who remains a member of the class if not the representative plaintiff,” he said in an email to tbnewswatch.com.
“All persons who fit the description of the class, whatever law firm they ‘identified with’, will be members of the class if certified unless they choose to opt out of the certified class.”
Lawyer Alexander (Sandy) Zaitzeff said he was pleased when he heard on Feb. 19 that the other law firm “folded their tent” but wasn’t sure what the reason was.
With the city now facing one class action lawsuit as a result of the flooding disaster, Zaitzeff said it has advanced their legal action by about six months.
“Within the next five days we will be revising the statement of claim for the third time,” he said.
“We will submit it to the city’s lawyers after which I’m confident we will get certified within 90 days.
“We’ve now toured the plant. We’re now able at this point to pinpoint what we feel were the causes of the flood. Let’s just say there’s no question that there was negligence involved.”
There’s nothing stopping another law firm from filing another flood-related class action lawsuit against the city.
Zaitzeff said his firm has done a lot of work on the lawsuit already and would fight to keep their case going.
He added that the new statement will involve the same category of people involved in the last document and will seek similar damages. He plans to refine the class action and the areas of the city that were affected by the flood.
They’re trying to narrow where the damages are and putting more focus on the plant instead of the entire city.
If successful in court, Zaitzeff and his firm will receive 33.3 per cent of the settlement. Zaitzeff publicly said they will give five per cent of that to whatever charity is helping the most needy flood victims at the time.
Mayor Keith Hobbs said having the Toronto law firm drop its suit was a positive development for the city.
“I always maintained that we did everything in our power to deal with a natural disaster like putting in the safe homes program,” he said.
“We did our due diligence and believe this is a sign of good things to come. I don't think there is much merit to the lawsuit.”
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