Nova Scotia

Class action over forensic hospital strip searches reaches proposed settlement

The class-action suit launched after a hospital-wide strip search of patients at the East Coast Forensic Hospital in Dartmouth, N.S., in 2012 has reached a proposed settlement, according to the law firm that launched it.

Law firm behind suit says strip-searched patients will be entitled to $5,000 apiece

The settlement must be approved by a Supreme Court of Nova Scotia judge before class members receive their payment. (Jean Laroche/CBC)

The class-action suit launched after a hospital-wide strip search of patients at the East Coast Forensic Hospital in Dartmouth, N.S., in 2012 has reached a proposed settlement.

The 33 forensic psychiatry patients who were strip-searched on Oct. 16, 2012, will be entitled to $5,000 each, according to law firm behind the lawsuit. It was filed in 2013 against Capital Health, which is now part of the Nova Scotia Health Authority.

The class-action suit was certified in 2015 after Justice Denise Boudreau said administrators in facilities such as the forensic hospital need to be able to control their operations, but that strip searches are highly intrusive.

The searches were initiated, according to Boudreau's decision, following a sequence of events that led to increased concerns that illegal substances were being brought into the hospital.

According to a press release from Valent Legal, the firm representing the class members, "it is alleged that the decision to strip search all patients was done without reasonable grounds and thereby in breach of their Charter rights."

The settlement must be approved by a Supreme Court of Nova Scotia judge before the class members receive their payment.

A hearing is scheduled for March 23 in Halifax.

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