A message from the Legal Support and Self-Defense Committee about the class actions launched against the P6 bylaw

Greetings to all!

The City of Montreal will soon be faced with several class actions related to the mass arrests carried out by the SPVM (with the “kettle” tactic) on March 15th and 22nd, April 5th, and May 1st, 2013.

The class actions were launched in September and early October. The respective claimants for the class actions are Sandrine Ricci and Guillaume Perrier for the March 15th mass arrest, Isabelle Baez and Bernice Chabot-Giguère for the March 22nd mass arrest, Jenny Cartwright for the April 5th mass arrest, and Julien Villeneuve for the May Day 2013 mass arrest. The plaintiffs will all be represented by the law office of Melançon, Marceau, Grenier & Sciortino.

What is a class action, or class lawsuit?

A class action is a procedural action which allows for a single plaintiff, or claimant, to act as a representative for all the members of a given group (whose individual permissions are not necessary to proceed with the class action), as part of a civil lawsuit, in order to obtain a compensation for damages incurred, usually a sum of money. In this case, the arrestees are suing the City of Montreal for actions carried out by the SPVM. The class action is not a defense procedure and does not interfere with the individual challenges of the tickets. It is a group action, but one or two people can act as official representatives: those are called “claimants”. It is in their name that a class action is launched and carried out.

To summarize, there are three steps to this procedure:

1. Authorization
A class action must be authorized by a judge. This is essentially a screening stage, whereby a judge decides: whether the case is appropriate for a class action; whether the class (group) is sufficiently homogeneous; and whether the selected claimants are well suited to represent the group.

2. The definition of the class (group)
If the judge authorizes the class action, he or she then defines a class of persons who will be part of the action, as well as the litigious issues and the required outcomes. These persons are called the class members. All the class members are automatically included in the group, and they don't have to register to it. The judge will also order the publication of a notice, as described below.

3. Hearing of the case and subsequent ruling
Following the authorization, the case will be heard as part of a court hearing. The same judge can preside over the authorization and the main case hearing. You will be notified of the proceedings on this list. A class action is a rather long process, and we will all have to wait several years before a final ruling is rendered.

… and what if I don't want to be part of this group ?

After the class action is authorized, a public notice is published, usually through mainstream newspapers, to inform the public and the class members of the existence of the class as well as the procedure to follow for excluding oneself from the group.

Who is affected by these class actions?

Anyone who was detained in a police kettle on March 15th, March 22nd, April 5th, and May 1st, 2013, in Montréal.

I want to be part of one (or more) of these class actions. What do I have to do?

All the people described in the definition of each class action will automatically be included in it. There are no fees to pay, no form to fill out, and no one to notify to be included in a class action. It is nonetheless strongly suggested to stay informed and to keep abreast of the proceedings in order to collect the compensation in the event of a successful outcome. For now, requests will be made to the Class Action Support Fund to bankroll these class actions. If the requests are accepted, we won't have to organize fund raising activities.

For further questions, please contact defense@clac-montreal.net
- CLAC Legal Support and Self-Defense Committee

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Le verger au complet!

La Convergence des luttes anticapitalistes (CLAC) produit une série de podcasts sous forme d'entrevues nommée Le Verger au complet qui vise la diffusion d’informations relatives à l’abolition de la police et des prisons et à la justice, en abordant des thématiques telles que l'emprisonnement des migrant.e.s, la criminalisation de la dissidence et la justice transformatrice.

Alors que les discours libéraux présentent les violences policières comme l'affaire de quelques pommes pourries dans le panier nous proposons plutôt une analyse critique de la police et des institutions punitives: on ne réforme pas un système pourri, on l’abolit! Attaquons-nous au verger au complet!



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