Bell offers $1M settlement to Yellowknife man, northern customers over 911 fees

A Yellowknife man who has been battling Bell Mobility in court for nearly a decade says he's glad the fight will soon be over, but some details of his settlement still need to be ironed out.

'Had I known that Bell would appeal every step I might have thought differently,' says plaintiff

A Yellowknife man who has been battling Bell Mobility in court for nearly a decade says he's glad the fight will soon be over, but some details of his settlement still need to be ironed out.

James Anderson and his son Samuel launched a class-action lawsuit against the company in 2007 over its 75-cent monthly fee for 911 emergency phone service — a service that doesn't exist in the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Yukon communities excluding Whitehorse.

In 2013, after numerous appeals, Bell was found liable — a decision that was upheld by the N.W.T. Court of Appeal last year.

The company is now offering to settle the lawsuit for $1,016,336.57 including interest and court costs. Anderson says his lawyers are recommending he accept the amount.

"It's taken a lot longer than it needed to do, although we were in it for the long term," said Anderson.

"Had I known that Bell would appeal every step I might have thought differently. But it was the right thing to do."

Settling the settlement 

The settlement must be approved in court — a hearing is scheduled in Yellowknife for June 6.

It also affects about 25,000 other customers in the North who signed a contract with Bell before April 13, 2010.

They are currently slated to be paid out of Anderson's settlement, although they have the option of objecting to that payment scheme and/or participating in the June 6 approval hearing. 

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