Gilles Duceppe's family seeks $1.1M in damages from seniors' residence after mother found dead in snow
Hélène Rowley Hotte Duceppe died of hypothermia after being locked out during snowstorm
The family of former Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe is seeking $1.14 million in damages after his mother died of hypothermia outside the emergency exit of her seniors' residence last January.
The family issued a lawyer's letter Wednesday giving Lux Gouverneur, a high-end seniors' residence in Montreal's east end, 10 days to respond.
The letter calls the home's actions irresponsible, negligent, careless and thoughtless.
"With this process the family thinks that we'll have some change and new practices in this industry," said Félix-Antoine Michaud, a lawyer representing the Duceppe family. "For us it's a big fail to not ensure a minimum of security."
The letter asks for $1 million in punitive damages and $140,000 in compensation for the family, Michaud said.
According to a coroner's report released last month, Rowley Hotte Duceppe got locked out of her building just before 5 a.m. She'd gone out an emergency exit after an alarm went off in the complex.
She was stuck outdoors in plain view of a security camera for six hours in the middle of a snowstorm, in what felt like –35 C with the windchill, the report said.
Her access card for the building would not allow her back inside via the emergency exit.
If Lux Gouverneur responds positively to the letter within the 10-day period, the process will end, Michaud said. Otherwise, they will take the matter to Quebec Superior Court.
A spokesperson for Lux Gouverneur said the organization would not comment on an ongoing legal matter.