New Brunswick

Proposed $2.5M settlement reached in Miramichi pathology class-action lawsuit

A proposed $2.5-million settlement has been reached in a class-action lawsuit against the Horizon Health Network over thousands of pathology samples being misdiagnosed at Miramichi Regional Hospital dating back to 1995, lawyers representing class members have announced.

Case, to be heard July 4, relates to thousands of misdiagnosed pathology samples dating back to 1995

Dr. Raj Menon, who died in 2015, was found to have partially or fully misdiagnosed thousands of pathology samples in New Brunswick between 1995 and 2007. (CBC)

A proposed $2.5-million settlement has been reached in a class-action lawsuit against the Horizon Health Network over thousands of pathology samples being misdiagnosed at Miramichi Regional Hospital dating back to 1995, lawyers representing class members have announced.

If approved, it would end an 11-year legal battle on behalf of patients whose tissue samples were tested by former pathologist Dr. Rajgopal Menon for potential cancer or cancer-related disease between 1995 and 2007.

Under the proposed agreement, living class members who meet certain criteria may be eligible to each receive between $750 and $50,000, according to a notice issued by Raymond Wagner and Maddy Carter.

Matrimonial and common-law spouses of deceased patients would not be eligible to receive any money.

A hearing to determine whether the settlement agreement should be approved will be held on July 4 at 10 a.m. at the Miramichi Law Courts.

Class members may make oral submissions during the hearing, with the court's permission, the notice states.

Anyone who objects to the proposed settlement must submit their reasons in writing to the Halifax-based law firm Wagners by June 27.

Filed after public inquiry

The class action was filed in 2008 after a public inquiry found the late Menon either partially or fully misdiagnosed thousands of pathology samples in New Brunswick between 1995 and 2007.

Justice Paul Creaghan found Menon should have been fired two years before he was suspended in 2007 over complaints about incomplete diagnoses and delayed lab results.

An independent audit of 227 cases of breast and prostate cancer biopsies from 2004-05 found 18 per cent had incomplete results and three per cent had been misdiagnosed.

Justice Paul Creaghan's public inquiry report made 52 recommendations to improve pathology services at the Miramichi hospital and across the province.

Menon died in 2015, but the class action has continued.

The certification order issued by the court indicates the "class" could include more than 15,000 patients.

Patients who fall within one of the two categories would be eligible for compensation under the proposed settlement, according to the notice issued by the lawyers.

Category 1 class members, those who suffered harm as a result of a change in Menon's diagnosis with respect to a cancer or cancer-related disease, could get between $2,500 and $50,000 each.

Category 2 class members, those who had a partial or complete change in Menon's diagnosis with respect to a cancer or cancer-related disease who do not qualify for an award under Category 1, may be entitled to a maximum of $750 each.

Eligible class members would be required to submit a claim form and, where required, supporting medical records within certain deadlines.