Province, forensic pathologist appealing $5M lawsuit decision

The government of Saskatchewan and its chief forensic pathologist are appealing a Saskatchewan jury’s decision to award a man $5 million in a lawsuit against the coroner's office over an assessment.

Appeal launched after $5 million awarded in lawsuit against coroner's office over assessment

The provincial government and chief coroner Dr. Shaun Ladham are appealing a $5 million lawsuit against the coroner's office. (CBC)

The government of Saskatchewan and its chief forensic pathologist are appealing a jury's decision to award a man $5 million after a five-week trial. 

In November, a jury found Dr. Shaun Ladham, chief forensic pathologist, and the coroner's office unfairly assessed Dr. Jeffrey Racette​'s skills while he was attempting to get a job with the coroner's office.

The government and Ladham are appealing the judgment in its entirety. 

They allege several errors were made by the judge and that they "both individually and in aggregate, bear directly on the jury's central task as a trier of fact, and thereby caused a substantial wrong and miscarriage of justice."

The government and Ladham have requested that the judgment is set aside, that the Court of Appeal hears the case or directs it to a new trial at the Court of Queen's Bench and that the costs incurred are relieved.

In the appeal, the province and Ladham said the judge "misdirected himself and the jury" in several ways. 

For example, they say the judged failed to direct the jury as to a range or maximum amount awarded. 

The defendants also allege that the judge erred in law by admitting "inadmissible and prejudicial testimony" before the jury. 

They say the judge admitted "evidence of Dr. Ladham's purported bad character and/or purportedly racist comments from other contexts ... and the hearsay evidence of the opinions of individuals not called to testify." 

They also say the judge admitted the "opinion evidence of witnesses who had not been qualified as experts" and "irrelevant evidence that was highly prejudicial to the Defendants including, inter alia, "evidence regarding Dr. Shaun Ladham's testimony from unrelated prior cases and evidence regarding Dr. Shaun Ladham's competence."

Furthermore, they say the judge didn't provide warning in regards to the use of that evidence.