Lac-Mégantic disaster class-action suit gets green light

A class-action lawsuit has been approved almost two years after a train derailment and explosion killed 47 people in Lac-Mégantic, Que., but the Quebec Superior Court justice's ruling means it is far more limited in scope.

Plaintiffs told they cannot sue Irving Oil or now-bankrupt Montreal Maine and Atlantic Railway

Forty-seven people were killed when a tanker train carrying crude oil derailed and exploded in the centre of Lac-Mégantic, Que., in July 2013. (Canadian Press)

A class-action lawsuit has been approved almost two years after a train derailment and explosion killed 47 people in Lac-Mégantic, Que.

But the Quebec Superior Court justice's ruling means it is far more limited in scope.

Justice Martin Bureau has given the plaintiffs permission to go after only two companies — World Fuel Services and Canadian Pacific Railway.

Initially, the legal action targeted 37 different parties, including Irving Oil, the now-bankrupt Montreal Maine and Atlantic Railway and its former president, Edward Burkhardt.

In January, victims of the rail disaster reached a major financial settlement with Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Canada.

The lawsuit alleges CPR was negligent and there was a lack of prudence in all circumstances leading up to the tragedy.

The lawsuit was filed by three Lac Mégantic residents — Guy Ouellet, Serge Jacques and Louis-Serge Parent — on behalf of all the victims.

The exact amount being sought will be determined at a later date. 

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