LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – A Quebec Superior Court ruling has given the go-ahead to a multi-billion-dollar class-action lawsuit alleging the federal government bungled its response to mad cow disease, the National Post reports.
In a decision released late on Friday, Mr. Justice Richard Wagner granted authorization to the suit filed on behalf of 20,000 Quebec cattle farmers. Similar claims have been filed in Saskatchewan, Alberta and Ontario, all accusing federal officials of “gross negligence,” says Cameron Pallett, the lawyer co-ordinating the lawsuits.
The four class-action suits combined seek compensation for losses of more than $9-billion in lost business since 2003 for farms across the country.
In 2003, the United States, Mexico and Japan closed their borders to Canadian beef, resulting in billions of dollars in losses for Canadian farmers.
Cattle producers were told, ‘We don’t have that problem here. We don’t have to worry about it here; you can keep growing,’ ” Mr. Pallett said yesterday.
“[The government] dropped the ball while encouraging the industry to continue growing,” the lawyer said. “What were they thinking?”
Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) first erupted in the United Kingdom during the 1980s.