Public supports moose class-action suit, Ches Crosbie says

Ches Crosbie says he has broad public support for his bid to get government compensation for people who are injured in moose-vehicle collisions.

Lawyer released poll Tuesday

Ches Crosbie says a recent poll suggests overwhelming support for more government action on controlling moose on the province's highways. (CBC)

A St. John's lawyer says he has broad public support for his bid to get government compensation for people who are injured in moose-vehicle collisions. 

Ches Crosbie, who has filed a class-action suit against the provincial government, released a poll on Tuesday. He said it suggests overwhelming support for more government action on controlling moose on highways.

Two-thirds of the people who were surveyed said they support the class-action suit.

Crosbie said the poll also found that 10 per cent of residents have been involved in a moose-vehicle accident.

He said the government's case isn't as strong as it thinks.

"We believe that the progress of this case has reached the point where they're going to lose the trial, so the time is now to bite the bullet, and come to the table, and let's discuss solutions," he said.

Crosbie said a mediator is standing by should government be interested in settling out of court.

Government wants exclusions

Meanwhile, the provincial government wants dozens of people excluded from the class-action suit.

The suit involves up to 100 people who have been injured in moose accidents over a period of 10 years.

Government wants to limit the time to two years, which would cut the number of people down to about 20.

The case was argued in Supreme Court on Monday.

Ben Bellows says he made a vow to his wife to keep fighting this fight until the day he dies. (CBC)
Ben Bellows was in the courtroom not only to fight for what he thinks is right, but also to keep a promise.

"I made a vow to my wife that I wouldn't give up fighting until the day I die," he said.

Bellows was injured in 2003, and is paralyzed from the chest down.

The government argued in court on Monday that Bellows had the basic information he needed to file a suit within the two years set down by the statute of limitation, but he didn't.

Crosbie said Bellows contacted a number of lawyers back then, but they turned him down, saying that his case wasn't worth their while.

Bellows said he was under heavy medication for two years, and was in no condition to put up a fight.

Crosbie argued that Bellows joining the class-action lawsuit seven years after his accident was his only realistic option.

Justice Valerie Marshall has several options: she can rule it's not her place to decide the issue; she can let the statute of limitation stand; she can exempt Bellows; or she can exempt everyone in the suit.

The case is set to go to trial in January, but there's still no agreement over how many years' worth of accidents will be included.

The crux of Crosbie's argument is that government didn't do enough to protect people like Bellows against moose-vehicle accidents on the province's highways.

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