Federal Prisoner Mental Health Class Action

1. Why is there a notice?

 

This lawsuit has been “certified” as a Class Action. This means that the lawsuit meets the requirements for class actions and may proceed to trial. If you are included, you may have legal rights and options before the Court decides whether the claims being made against Canada on your behalf are correct. This notice explains all of these things.

 

A judge of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice is currently overseeing this case. The case is known as Brazeau v. Canada Court File No. CV-15-53262500-CP. The person who sued is called the Plaintiff. Canada is the Defendant.

 

2. What is this lawsuit about?

 

The lawsuit says that Canada failed to provide Class members with adequate medical care, improperly subjected them to solitary confinement and failed to protect people who suffer from mental illness. The lawsuit says residents of the Federal Correctional Institutions were unduly emotionally, physically, and psychologically traumatized by their experiences at the Federal Penitentiaries. Canada denies these claims. The Court has not decided whether the Plaintiff or Canada is right. The lawyers for the Plaintiff will have to prove their claims in Court.

 

If you are having a difficult time dealing with these issues you can call (1-855-823-0650) (TTY 1-877-627-7027) for assistance.

 

3. Why is this a class action?

 

In a class action people called the “representative plaintiffs” (in this case, Christopher Brazeau and David Kift) sued on behalf of people who have similar claims. All of these people are a “class” or “class members.” The court resolves the issues for all class members in one case, except for those who remove themselves from the class.

 

4. Who is a member of the Class?

 

The Class includes:

 

All offenders in federal custody who were diagnosed by a medical doctor with an Axis I Disorder (excluding substance use disorders), or Borderline Personality Disorder, who suffered from their disorder, in a manner described in Appendix A, and reported such during their incarceration, where the diagnosis by a medical doctor occurred either before or during incarceration in a federal institution and the offenders were incarcerated between November 1, 1992 and the present, and were alive as of July 20, 2013.

 

Appendix A

 

  • Significant impairment in judgment (including inability to make decisions; confusion; disorientation);

  • Significant impairment in thinking (including constant preoccupation with thoughts, paranoia; delusions that make the offender a danger to self or others);

  • Significant impairment in mood (including constant depressed mood plus helplessness and hopelessness;  agitation;  manic mood that interferes with ability to effectively interact with other offenders, staffs or follow correctional plan);

  • Significant impairment in communications that interferes with ability to effectively interact with other offenders, staff or follow correctional plan;

  • Significant  impairment due to anxiety (panic attacks; overwhelming anxiety) that interferes with ability to effectively interact with other offenders, staff or follow correctional plan;

  • Other symptoms: hallucinations; delusions; severe obsessional rituals that interferes with ability to effectively interact with other offenders, staff or follow correctional plan;

  • Chronic and severe suicidal ideation resulting in increased risk for suicide attempts;

  • Chronic and severe self-injury; or,

  • A GAF score of 50 or less.

 

5. What are the Plaintiffs asking for?

 

The Plaintiffs are asking for money or other benefits for the Class. They are also asking for attorneys’ fees and costs, plus interest.

 

6. Is there any money available now?

 

No money or benefits are available now because the Court has not yet decided whether Canada did anything wrong, and the two sides have not settled the case. There is no guarantee that money or benefits will ever be obtained. If they are, you will be notified about how to ask for your share.

 

YOUR RIGHTS AND OPTIONS

 

You must decide whether to stay in the Class or whether to remove yourself before a possible trial, and you have to decide this by August 12, 2017.

 

7. What happens if I do nothing at all?

 

If you do nothing you will automatically remain in the lawsuit. You will be bound by all Court orders, good or bad. If any benefit is awarded, you may need to take action in order to receive any benefits.

 

8. What if I don’t want to be in the Lawsuit?

 

If you do not want to be in the lawsuit, you must remove yourself – this is sometimes referred to as “opting out.” If you remove yourself, you will not receive any benefit that may be obtained from the lawsuit. You will not be bound by any Court orders and you keep your right to sue Canada as an individual regarding the issues in this case.

 

To remove yourself, send a letter that says you want to be removed from the Class in Brazeau v. Canada. Include your name, address, telephone number, and signature. You can also get an Opt Out Form at www.federalprisonermentalhealthclassaction.ca. You must mail your Removal Request postmarked by August 12, 2017 to:

 

Federal Prisoner Mental Health Class Action Administrator

c/o Crawford & Company

3-505, 133 Weber St N.

Waterloo ON N2J 3G9

 

or by email at: federalprisonermentalhealthclassaction@crawco.ca.

 

Call (1-855-823-0650) (TTY: 1-877-627-7027) if you have any questions about how to get out of the Class.

 

Please note, the deadline to opt out of the settlement without leave, was August 12, 2017. The deadline has passed.

 

9. If a former inmate remains in the Class will this impact their current care placement?

 

No. Staying in this Class will not impact the current placement for any members who are still under supervised care.

 

THE LAWYERS REPRESENTING YOU

 

10. Do I have a lawyer in the case?

 

Yes. The Court has appointed Koskie Minsky LLP from Toronto to represent you and other Class Members as “Class Counsel.” You will not be charged for these lawyers. If you want to be represented by another lawyer, you may hire one to appear in Court for you at your own expense.

 

11. How will the lawyers be paid?

 

Class Counsel will only be paid if they win a trial or if there is a settlement. The Court has to also approve their request to be paid. The fees and expenses could be deducted from any money obtained for the Class, or paid separately by the defendant.

 

 

A TRIAL

 

12. How and when will the Court decide who is right?

 

If the lawsuit is not dismissed or settled, the Plaintiffs will have to prove their claims at a trial that will take place in Toronto. During the trial, a court will hear all of the evidence, so that a decision can be reached about whether the Plaintiffs or Canada is right about the claims in the lawsuit. There is no guarantee that the Plaintiffs will win any money or benefits for the Class.

 

13. Will I get money after the trial?

 

If the Plaintiffs obtain money or benefits as a result of a trial or settlement, you will be notified about how to ask for a share or what your other options are at that time. These things are not known right now. Important information about the case will be posted on the website, www.federalprisonermentalhealthclassaction.ca, as it becomes available.

 

 

GETTING MORE INFORMATION

 

14. How do I get more information?

 

You can get more information at www.federalprisonermentalhealthclassaction.ca, by calling toll free at (1-855-823-0650) (TTY: 1-877-627-7027), or writing to:

 

Federal Prisoner Mental Health Class Action Administrator

c/o Crawford & Company

3-505, 133 Weber St N.

Waterloo ON N2J 3G9

 

or by email at: federalprisonermentalhealthclassaction@crawco.ca.