On September 26, 2019, counsel for Canada advised that they had received instructions to institute what is called a “third party claim” against Hoffmann-La Roche Limited, the manufacturer of Mefloquine. We have not pursued Hoffmann-La Roche in our lawsuits. Canada then brought a motion to stay the Plaintiffs’ proceedings in Federal Court, arguing that the Federal Court will no longer have jurisdiction over the proceedings because of the addition of Hoffmann-La Roche as a third party. This has the potential to move the claims which are currently filed in the Federal Court over to the Ontario Superior Court.
On November 7, 2019, Canada filed its motion record (part 1, part 2) in support of its motion to stay the Plaintiffs’ proceedings in Federal Court. The motion record contains Canada’s draft third party claim, which includes its first formal response to the Plaintiffs’ claims.
Canada has now stated publicly that:
“[Canada] will deny any and all liability. Canada will also deny that the plaintiffs have suffered the alleged injuries as a result of taking mefloquine. Canada will put the plaintiffs to the strict proof thereof.” [Draft Third Party Claim, para 9, Motion Record of Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, Vol 2, Tab 3, p 385].
Document Production Motion
In addition to stating its intention to deny all liability, Canada has further refused the Plaintiffs’ request for documents that could shed more light on the arrangement between Hoffmann-La Roche and the DND regarding the participation of the DND in the Lariam Safety Monitoring Study in 1990.
It is the Plaintiffs’ position that these documents are important for the Court to review in making its decision on the jurisdiction motion. Therefore, a document production motion will be heard on February 11th, 2020, to determine whether Canada should produce the requested documents at this time in the litigation.
Strength in Numbers
Since January 2019, we have been contacted by over 3345 individuals. We have been retained by 1013 clients, and we have filed claims for almost 200 clients so far. We have hundreds of more claims ready to go and waiting in the wings pending the resolution of the jurisdiction motion. We continue to thank each and every one of you for your dedication to this cause.
Announcement of Cabinet
The Plaintiffs urge Federal Justice Minister David Lametti, Minister of Veterans Affairs Lawrence MacAulay, and Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan to consider General Romeo Dallaire’s remarks: “When our soldiers come back injured, we must treat them and their families with dignity and respect, and ensure they don’t have to fight again to live decently as veterans in this country.”