City still facing lawsuits from 2013 double-decker bus crash
Class-action lawsuit also in the works for this month's crash at Westboro station
The City of Ottawa is still dealing with lawsuits from the fatal double-decker bus crash in 2013 as a law firm prepares a class-action lawsuit for last week's double-decker crash at Westboro station.
A total of 39 lawsuits were filed following the 2013 crash between a double-decker OC Transpo bus and a Via Rail train in Barrhaven that killed six people and injured dozens more — a number unchanged from September 2017.
As of today, 35 of the 39 lawsuits have been settled, with the total payout at nearly $9.7 million, according to deputy city solicitor David White.
The amounts given to individual plaintiffs are not being released due to confidentiality agreements.
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Among the settlements are the families of Michael Bleakney, Connor Boyd and Rob More, who were killed in the 2013 crash.
There remains an active lawsuit from the children of Karen Krzyzewski, a 53-year-old mother of two who worked at Library and Archives Canada for 28 years, and also died in the crash.
Krzyzewski's sisters have settled their part of the lawsuit, according to the family's lawyer.
The lawyer for the family of Kyle Nash declined to comment on the status of that lawsuit when contacted on Friday.
A $60-million class-action lawsuit has also been filed related to the Jan. 11 crash at Westboro station involving a bus that can hold as many as 90 people.
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The lawsuit has not yet been certified by a judge.
"There really does have to be an examination, through the court process, of how this came to pass," said Evatt Merchant, who is representing the one plaintiff who has officially signed on.
"It's not simply a matter of what happened last Friday … It's a matter of what planning has occured over the past decade so that these types of crashes can be avoided."
The City of Ottawa has notified its insurance agencies about the filed class-action lawsuit and the possibility of other lawsuits to follow.
The class-action claim alleges the city is liable for the crash itself, as well as the design and maintenance of the Transitway and its stations, city clerk and solicitor Rick O'Connor wrote in a memo to the mayor, councillors and transportation committee.
It's likely the city's automobile and general liability insurance policies will come into play in relation to the claim, O'Connor wrote, adding that each policy has a $3 million deductible.
"The maximum amount payable by the city is therefore $6 million, with any amounts over and above being paid by the insurers," O'Connor wrote.
There is a two-year window to file lawsuits after an event, which means lawsuits related to the Westboro crash have to be filed by Jan. 11, 2021.
With files from Joanne Chianello, Krystalle Ramlakhan and Claudine Richard