City of Montreal wants flood victim lawsuits suspended

The city of Montreal is asking a Court of Quebec judge to suspend dozens of lawsuits filed by flood victims in Pierrefonds-Roxboro.

32 Pierrefonds-Roxboro residents are suing the city in small claims court for negligence

The municipality of Pierrefonds-Roxboro was one of the harder-hit areas by the spring floods of 2017. Now dozens of flood victims who live there are suing the city. (CBC Archives)

The city of Montreal is asking a Court of Quebec judge to suspend dozens of lawsuits filed by flood victims in Pierrefonds-Roxboro.

Thirty-two people are suing the city in small claims court, arguing the city was negligent by not doing enough to prevent flood damage last spring.

One of the plaintiffs, Klaus Bodnik, is still doing repairs on his home on 5th Avenue North — 10 months after his basement was flooded. He's suing the city for $10,000.

But two weeks ago, he got a notice from the Court of Quebec, advising him that the city wanted the case suspended.

"It just boggles the mind," Bodnik said. "You elect these people hoping they'll look out for your good, you pay a hell of a lot in taxes — then they do this."
Flood victims Susan and Klaus Bodnik are suing the city for negligence and are seeking $10,000 in damages. (CBC)

In court documents obtained by CBC, the city says the lawsuits should be suspended because another flood victim from 5th Avenue is already suing them in Quebec Superior Court.

The city writes that the small claims lawsuits "raise the same points of fact and law," as the Superior Court case, and they should be suspended until a judgment is made.

The city is also trying to have some of these cases dismissed because of how they were filed.

"[The city doesn't] want to take responsibility for their inaction," Bodnik said. "It's a delaying tactic. They just hope that if the other case runs for years and years, we'll forget about it."

The city also argues that these delays won't cause any serious harm to the plaintiffs.

Flood victim Itsik Romano disagrees.

He says he's already had to burn through his savings and remortgage his home to pay for repairs.

Romano thinks the money he and the other plaintiffs are seeking is sorely needed.

"Coming back home, but not having the full capacity of enjoying the home as it used to be, you're kind of in a vacuum of a lot of stress," Romano said. "Any monetary value that will come back to you as the result of a court case…will definitely help."

Romano says he'll fight the city's suspension request in court.