Class Action Lawsuit launched against the City of Thunder Bay for Leaking Pipes
THUNDER BAY, ONTARIO ~~~~~ November 24, 2020 (LSN) The law firm of Roy O'Connor LLP, working with the assistance of Erik Knutsen, have issued a proposed class action lawsuit against the City of Thunder Bay for damage alleged to be caused to pipes and plumbing systems following the City's introduction of sodium hydroxide into the municipal water supply. The damage alleged includes what are described as "pinhole leaks" in the plumbing, the significant costs to repair the leaks, and the resulting damage from the leaks.
The proposed class action seeks compensation totaling $350,000,000 to cover the thousand or tens of thousands of residents, businesses and other operations whose pipes and plumbing systems were damaged or, are at risk of damage and failure, by the City's introduction of sodium hydroxide into the water supply years ago. Following complaints and concerns being raised, the City discontinued the use of sodium hydroxide earlier this year.
The representative Plaintiff in the case is Patsy Stadnyk of the City of Thunder Bay. Ms. Stadnyk herself experienced leaks in the pipes at a rental property this summer. As reported in local media, Ms. Stadnyk and many others in the community have spent many months raising public awareness of the issue and pressing for the City of Thunder Bay to address the issue. According to Ms. Stadnyk:
"This is a real problem and major source of stress for the people serviced by the City's water supply. Thousands of homes and other properties have already been damaged and many people are worried if their property will be next. As residents know, we have been trying to get the City to respond to the situation and damages but with no success.
I am pleased to say that I have retained a top flight class action firm to act on our behalf. The firm is being assisted by Erik Knutsen, a Queens University law professor and Harvard trained lawyer who formerly lived and practiced law in Thunder Bay. We have an excellent team."
David O'Connor, a senior partner with Roy O'Connor LLP, is the lead lawyer working on the case. Mr. O'Connor noted that:
"Unfortunately, we understand that thousands of properties have experienced leaks and damage. Many more may be at risk and are concerned about potential future problems. This class action should provide access to justice. This action should provide an effective means for people to seek compensation for a significant and costly problem that they did not create. We will vigorously press this case forward on behalf of the community."
The Plaintiff's statement of claim alleges that, among other things, the City owed legal duties to the proposed class members (including individuals, businesses and other organizations supplied with water from the City) to ensure that the water supply did not unnecessarily corrode their pipes and plumbing systems. The statement of claim alleges that the City breached those duties through the introduction and use of sodium hydroxide into the water supply. The statement of claim further alleges that the City had more reasonable, prudent and appropriate alternatives (other than the introduction of sodium hydroxide) that were readily available to address any concerns that the City had about the potential leaching of lead in plumbing systems in a subset of local properties. The Plaintiff's allegations have yet to be proven in Court.
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Photos from the The Thunder Bay Leaky Pipe Club Facebook Page
ABOUT ROY O'CONNOR LLP
Roy O'Connor LLP – Roy O'Connor LLP (www.royoconnor.ca) has been recognized in peer reviews as one of Canada's leading boutique litigation firms and leading litigators in class actions. Among other things, Roy O'Connor is Benchmark Canada's (a guide to Canada's leading litigators) three-time winner of its award for Plaintiff's Firm of the Year in Canada (2013, 2015 and 2017). David F. O'Connor is one of the founding partners in Roy O'Connor LLP and has significant experience in class actions. More information about the firm and Mr. O'Connor are available on the above-noted website.