Montreal

Gilles Duceppe's family sues seniors' home for $1.25M over mother's death

Hélène Rowley Hotte Duceppe died of hypothermia a year ago today, on a morning when it was a bitter -35 C and snowing.

Hélène Rowley Hotte Duceppe died of hypothermia after being locked out during snowstorm

Hélène Rowley Hotte, seen here at the inauguration of Parc Jean-Duceppe in 2006 alongside her son, Gilles Duceppe, died of hypothermia after she was stuck outside her residence for six hours. (Radio-Canada)

The family of former Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe is suing the luxury seniors' residence where their 93-year-old mother perished after being trapped in a courtyard during a false fire alarm last winter.

Hélène Rowley Hotte Duceppe died of hypothermia a year ago today, on a morning when it was a bitter -35 and snowing.

Lawyer Marc-Antoine Cloutier says that while the death may have been accidental, the alleged negligence of staff at the Lux Gouverneur Montreal contributed to the tragedy.

A coroner's report released last June said video surveillance showed the woman trapped in the courtyard for six hours. She tried to get back inside the building to no avail, since her access card wouldn't let her back inside and no one noticed her absence.

Cloutier said the family and the estate are seeking just under $1.3 million for both the suffering experienced by Rowley Hotte Duceppe, and the pain her death has caused her seven children.

The family sent the Lux Gouverneur notice last July that they were seeking damages, and were prepared to take legal action if the residence did not respond.

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