Photo: The Canadian Press
A memorial to the fatal bus crash involving the Humboldt Broncos hockey team at the intersection of Interstates 35 and 335 near Tisdale, Tuesday, October 27, 2020. Parents of those who died in the accident move forward. The Canadian Press / Liam Richards
The Saskatchewan Court of Appeals has set aside a temporary injunction that halted a lawsuit brought by some of the parents of those who died in the Humboldt Broncos bus accident.
16 people were killed and 13 injured when an inexperienced truck driver passed a stop sign and got into the path of a mini hockey team bus at a country intersection near Tisdale, Sussex, on April 6, 2018.
A few months after the accident, a lawsuit was filed by the families of five people who had died.
But an attorney for a class action proposed by other families successfully argued last year that the original suit should be adjourned until the court decides whether to ratify the class action.
In a decision issued on Tuesday, the appeals court ruled that the judge who issued the temporary injunction made a mistake.
Justice Robert Laurer wrote: “The endowment’s effect … is significant. It completely prevents their access to court – a right that cannot be easily compromised.”
“I refuse to characterize the stay order as having little or limited impact on the ability of … the plaintiffs to prosecute their proceedings.”
Laurer said there is no reason for the court to rule in favor of the class action over the original suit.
“This is not an issue where that party has a small or frivolous claim.”
He said that although the residency was meant to be temporary and would have expired after the ratification decision was made, it could lead to a long delay.
“The accommodation is inappropriate without taking into account the financial and psychological consequences,” he wrote.
“This is not a situation in which it can be said in any way that this party is seeking to abuse court proceedings by pursuing an individual action versus a proposed class action.”
The early suit represents the families of assistant coach Mark Cross, 27, of Strasbourg, Saskatchewan; Jackson Joseph, 20, of St. Albert, Alta; Logan Hunter, 18, of St. Albert, Alta; Jacob Licht, 19, from Humboldt, Sussex; and Adam Herold, 16, from Montmartre, Sasqué.
Other lawsuits related to the accident have also been filed. But John Rice, a Vancouver attorney who works on the class action, previously said their representatives agreed not to file cases until after a testimony hearing.
The judge said that while a repeat of the proceedings is generally undesirable, it is not prohibited.
“There are many circumstances in which competing interests are allowed to be balanced. This is one of those cases.”
Jaskirat Singh Seidu, the truck driver who caused the accident, was sentenced to eight years in prison after pleading guilty to dangerous driving charges. In July, he was granted a six-month parole.