In September 2000, a class action was settled by the
establishment of five trusts to pay individuals who allegedly
received contaminated blood transfusions.
Eleven years later, the trustee sought directions from the court
as to who should receive surplus funds held by the Claims
Administrator. From over $68 million in the funds, approximately
164 cheques, totalling $483,983, were never cashed or the intended
recipient could not be located. The uncashed cheques ranged in
amount from $100 to over $10,000.
The court was asked to consider three options for the
distribution of the $483,983 in unclaimed funds:
Option A would direct the money to other known class members
whose claims had been partially paid. That would result in an
additional $750 per ascertained class member. A drawback was that
if missing claimants later surfaced, the trust would be completely
depleted. However, claimants were obliged to update their contact
information and the missing claimants had failed to do so.
Option B involved the transfer of unclaimed funds to various
government organizations in Canada and the United States where
missing claimants were last known to reside. The organizations
would hold the funds and try to locate the claimants. In some
jurisdictions, unclaimed funds would eventually escheat to the
government. The trustee proposed that after three years any
unclaimed funds would be paid to a charity of his choice.
Class counsel supported this option.
Option C, which was a hybrid approach, involved the transfer of
some funds to government organizations in Ontario, Quebec and
British Columbia, with the remainder distributed to the partially
The court chose Option A. Guided by the principle of
proportionality, the court considered the amount at issue and
balanced the costs and benefits of each of the options. The court
stated that the most appropriate direction would be one that
provided the majority of the funds to class members. Options B and
C had a chance of providing the funds to the intended recipients,
however, they would involve time and expense and there was no
guarantee that the missing claimants would be found. Further, the
searches would be conducted by non-court supervised parties. The
court found that Option A ensured that funds would go to class
members. The court decided that any remaining balance was to be
paid to a charity selected by the trustee in consultation with
It's not often that our little blog intersects with such titanic struggles as the U.S. presidential race – and by using the term "titanic" I certainly don't mean to suggest that anything disastrous is in the future.
J.J. v. C.C., is an interesting case in which the court held that an automotive garage owes a duty to minor children to secure the vehicles on the premises by locking the cars and safely storing the car keys...
In Irwin v. Alberta Veterinary Medical Association, 2015 ABCA 396, the Alberta Court of Appeal found that the "ABVMA" failed to afford procedural fairness to a veterinarian undergoing an incapacity assessment.
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