Lawyers provide update on case against steel plant operators

By Greg McNeil
Cape Breton Post
Thurs., Mar. 22, 2007

SYDNEY - An update on the class-action lawsuit on behalf of the people who live or have lived near the Steel plant, tarponds and coke ovens sites was provided, Wednesday.

The legal action, to be heard in the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, hopes to prove pass operations of the steel plant in Sydney knew they were polluting and did nothing about it.

" We are here to try to bring the court process back to the people so they understand what is going on," said Ray Wagner, a Coxheath native and the plaintiff's lawyer.

The process is going well, he said. He told the more than 25 people in attendance at the Steel Workers Hall that the next important step is a certification motion scheduled for April 2008.

" That is a very big miles stone. For us to get from where we were on such as this- from filling in March 2004, to having a certification motion in 2008-is quite fast in terms litigation."

Most recently, plainiffs files statements moving to have the case heard as a class- action lawsuit. That decision will likely follow the certification application.

Questions from the floor followed the update. One man asked if Supreme Court Justice David MacAdam, who is presiding over the case, would succumb to political pressure. Wagner said he has no doubt about MacAdam's impartiality.

Reasons for the lengthy process were also in question. According to Wagner, a class- action suit must have a lower court record before it proceeds to higher levels.

Wagner believes the 400 people who've joined the class-action suit are pleased. " It is a need to come to a solution that is driving us. It is not on a basis that this is a guaranteed result or not a guaranteed result. It is because it is a cause that needs to be resolved for the people in the city of Sydney.