The Manitoba government wants the courts to dismiss a lawsuit filed against the province by relatives of a man who died while waiting in a Winnipeg hospital emergency room.

Lawyers argue in court documents that Brian Sinclair no longer has charter rights now that he is dead.

They also argue the province wasn't negligent in his death because the government had no personal duty of care towards the homeless man.

Further, lawyers argue Sinclair's rights weren't violated because the charter doesn't guarantee a right to life, liberty and security of person. They say it only ensures that people won't be deprived of those rights.

Lawyers for the Sinclair family say those arguments offend "the most basic Canadian standards about the treatment of patients in hospital emergency rooms."

Lawyers for the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA) filed court documents last month that echo much of the same things.

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

Preventable death

Sinclair, a 45-year-old double amputee with a speech problem, was found dead in his wheelchair at the Health Sciences Centre 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 34 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.

The Sinclair family has filed a lawsuit against several medical staff, the WRHA and the Manitoba government for $1.6 million.

The statement of claim, filed in September 2010, lists 18 defendants.