A Manitoba health authority wants the court to dismiss much of a lawsuit filed by relatives of a homeless man who died in a Winnipeg emergency room.

Lawyers for the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority say Brian Sinclair, a double-amputee who died during a 34-hour wait at the Health Sciences Centre, no longer has rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms now that he is dead.

In court documents, the authority says Sinclair's charter rights ended with his death so his family cannot sue on those grounds.

The lawyers are also asking the court to dismiss allegations that Sinclair's privacy rights were violated because they say those rights also don't apply after his death.

A Sinclair family lawyer says that argument is "absurd, intolerable and cruelly ironic."

Lawyers for both sides are expected to make their case before a judge in Winnipeg on Nov. 8.

Preventable death

Sinclair, a double amputee with a speech problem, was found dead in his wheelchair in the ER waiting room on Sept. 21, 2008.

Security tape showed Sinclair went to the triage desk and spoke to an aide before wheeling himself into the waiting room. It wasn't until hours later that someone in the waiting room approached a security guard saying they believed Sinclair was dead.

He was rushed into the treatment area where emergency staff tried unsuccessfully to revive him.

An autopsy later determined he died as a result of a blood infection brought on by complications of a bladder infection caused by a blocked catheter.

His death could have been prevented if the blood infection had been treated, Manitoba's Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. Thambirajah Balachandra, said within days of the incident.