Moose class-action lawsuit dismissed, province found not liable
The class-action lawsuit for people injured in moose-vehicle collisions that was filed against the provincial government has been dismissed by a judge with the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Judge Robert Stack rendered the decision on Friday morning. The provincial government was found not liable for moose-vehicle collisions.
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According to Stack's decision, the people who put the class action lawsuit together argued there is evidence of serious negligence in the research by officials, leading to an "irrational" policy or one that was made in bad faith.
However, Stack said there is no evidence to prove that moose population management or moose-vehicle collision risk mitigation were irrational or done in bad faith. As a result, government is immune from a negligence lawsuit.
"The province, of course, is glad to hear that [Stack's decision]," said Transportation and Works Minister Nick McGrath.
"We felt that we put up a strong case in the courts and obviously the judge felt the same, so we were pleased to hear that the case has been dismissed and taken out of the courts."
Crosbie said Friday while the case was dismissed, it was an "enormous moral victory" for the plaintiffs.
"The government won in a court of law, but lost in the court of public opinion," said Crosbie.
"Most of the public thinks government must take action on the moose collision issue, and government is finally about to do so. It would not be taking action without the lawsuit."
Crosbie added he intends to appeal the court's decision.
Other measures being researched
McGrath added the province is "committed to mitigating," as many moose-vehicle collisions as possible.
The decision comes on the same day the provincial government admitted the Trans-Canada Highway moose sensor pilot project didn't work as planned.
The sensors were installed in July 2011, but McGrath said they were working only about 40 per cent of the time.
McGrath said the sensors cost the province roughly $1.5-million, and despite the track record, he said they weren't a waste of money.
"They were more expensive than originally thought, but again it was a part of a pilot project. And in order to see if it is going to work in our province, you have to make investments. We feel it was a wise investment for the pilot project, and now you go forward," he said.
He added installing moose fencing along the highways would cost government about $125,000 per kilometre, and the province has approximately 10,000 kilometres of roadway — which would mean about 20,000 kilometres of fencing.
McGrath said his department is in the process of putting together a presentation on the pilot project for government to decide how to move forward.