BC Solitary Confinement Class Action

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

 

1. Why is there a notice?

2. What is this lawsuit about?

3. Why is this a class action?

4. Who is a member of the Class?

5. What is the Plaintiff asking for?

6. Is there any money available now?

7. What happens if I do nothing at all?

8. What if I don’t want to be in the lawsuit?

9. Do I have a lawyer in the case?

10. How will the lawyers be paid?

11. How and when will the Court decide who is right?

12. Will I get money after the trial?

13. How do I get more information?

 

 

1. Why is there a notice?

 

This lawsuit has been “certified” as a Class Action. This means that the lawsuit meets the requirements for class actions and may proceed to trial.  If you are included, you may have legal rights and options before the Court decides whether the claims being made against British Columbia on your behalf are correct. This notice explains all of these things.

 

A judge of the Supreme Court of British Columbia is currently overseeing this case. The case is known as North v. British Columbia, Court File No. S1812656. The person who sued is called the Plaintiff. British Columbia is the Defendant.

 

2. What is this lawsuit about?

 

The lawsuit says that British Columbia improperly subjected inmates to separate confinement and/or segregation. The lawsuit says that such separate confinement and/or segregation constitutes breach of fiduciary duty, systemic negligence and breaches of inmates' rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. British Columbia denies these claims. The Court has not decided whether the Plaintiff or British Columbia is right. The lawyers for the Plaintiff will have to prove their claims in Court.

 

3. Why is this a class action?

 

In a class action, a person called the “Representative Plaintiff” (in this case, Naveah North) sued on behalf of people who have similar claims. All of these people are a “Class” or “Class Members.” The court resolves the issues for all class members in one case, except for those who remove themselves from the class.

 

4. Who is a member of the Class?

 

The Class includes those persons who, between April 18, 2005 and December 22, 2020, were involuntarily subjected to either:

 

  1. Separate Confinement and/or Segregation for at least fifteen (15) consecutive days (“Prolonged Separate Confinement and/or Segregation”); or

  2. Separate Confinement and/or Segregation when B.C. Corrections knew or ought to have known the person suffered from Mental Illness (“Separate Confinement and/or Segregation of Mental Health Disordered Inmates”);

    in a B.C. correctional centre as defined in s. 1 of the Correction Act. S.B.C. 2004, c. 46.

 

“Separate Confinement and/or Segregation” means any placement apart from the general population pursuant to ss. 17, 18, 24 or 27(1)(d) of the Correction Act Regulation, B.C. Reg. 58/2005;

 

“Mental Illness” means a diagnosed condition comprising one of the following disorders, as defined in the relevant Diagnostic and Statistics Manual of Mental Disorders:

  1. Schizophrenia (all sub-types);
  2. Delusional disorder;
  3. Schizophreniform disorder;
  4. Schizoaffective disorder;
  5. Brief psychotic disorder;
  6. Substance-induced psychotic disorder (excluding intoxications and withdrawal);
  7. Psychotic disorder not otherwise specified;
  8. Major depressive disorders;
  9. Bipolar disorder I;
  10. Bipolar disorder II;
  11. Neurocognitive disorders and/or Delirium, Dementia and Amnestic and Other Cognitive Disorders;
  12. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder;
  13. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder; or
  14. Borderline Personality Disorder.

 

5. What is the Plaintiff asking for?

 

The Plaintiff is asking for money or other benefits for the Class. She is also asking for lawyers’ fees and costs, plus interest.

 

6. Is there any money available now?

 

No money or benefits are available now because the Court has not yet decided whether British Columbia did anything wrong, and the two sides have not settled the case. There is no guarantee that money or benefits will ever be obtained.  If they are, you will be notified about how to ask for your share.

 

7. What happens if I do nothing at all?

 

If you do nothing you will automatically remain in the lawsuit. You will be bound by all Court orders, good or bad. If any benefit is awarded, you may need to take action in order to receive any benefits.

 

8. What if I don’t want to be in the lawsuit?

 

The deadline to opt out of the lawsuit was August 3, 2021.

 

9. Do I have a lawyer in the case?

 

Yes. The Court has appointed Koskie Minsky LLP from Toronto, and McEwan Partners LLP from Vancouver, to represent you and other Class Members as “Class Counsel.” You will not be personally charged for these lawyers. If you want to be represented by another lawyer, you may hire one to appear in Court for you at your own expense.

 

10. How will the lawyers be paid?

 

Class Counsel will only be paid if they win a trial or if there is a settlement. The Court has to also approve their request to be paid. The fees and expenses could be deducted from any money obtained for the Class or paid separately by the Defendant.

 

11. How and when will the Court decide who is right?

 

If the lawsuit is not dismissed or settled, the Plaintiff will have to prove her claims at a trial that will take place in Vancouver. During the trial, a Court will hear all of the evidence, so that a decision can be reached about whether the Plaintiff or British Columbia is right about the claims in the lawsuit. There is no guarantee that the Plaintiff will win any money or benefits for the Class.

 

12. Will I get money after the trial?

 

If the Plaintiff obtains money or benefits as a result of a trial or settlement, you will be notified about how to ask for a share or what your other options are at that time. These things are not known right now. Important information about the case will be posted on the Important Updates Page as it becomes available.

 

13. How do I get more information?

 

You can get more information by calling toll free at 833-358-9422, or writing to: BC Solitary Confinement Class Action, P.O. Box 507 STN B, Ottawa, ON K1P 5P6, or by email at: info@BCsolitaryconfinementclassaction.ca.

 

Important Dates

 

 

August 3, 2021

Opt Out Deadline

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