Class Action Launched

January 1, 2009 by Legion Magazine

If you are a former member of the Canadian Forces whose Service Income Security Insurance Plan (SISIP) Long Term Disability (LTD) benefits have been reduced by the amount of your monthly disability pension from Veterans Affairs Canada, you should know that you can be part of a class action lawsuit.

If the action succeeds or is settled out of court, your entitlement to an award will depend upon your individual circumstances.

The Federal Court of Canada has certified the case of Dennis Manuge against the government as a class action. Under the terms of the SISIP LTD plan, an amount equal to 75 per cent of the disabled former member’s pay at release is payable but is reduced by payments received from the VAC disability pension.

The class action challenges the authority of the federal government to lawfully reduce SISIP LTD benefits payable and further challenges the reduction as being discriminatory, contrary to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The claim also alleges breach of fiduciary duty, unjust enrichment, breach of public duty and bad faith on the part of the Government of Canada.

The class action seeks, among other things, a declaration by the court that the Government of Canada acted improperly in reducing the SISIP LTD benefits and repayment of the amounts reduced, as well as punitive, exemplary and aggravated damages.

Who Are The  Class Members?

All class members will be bound by  the judgment, whether favourable or unfavourable, in the class action.

All class members have a right to participate in the class action. You do not need to do anything to participate. You are automatically included. If you do not want to participate you must complete an opt-out notice available from the law firm McInnes Cooper at the address below.

If you wish to contact the lawyers you should provide your name, address, dates of service in the Canadian Forces, the date upon which you commenced receiving a VAC disability benefit and the date you began receiving SISIP LTD benefits.

Who Pays For This Action?
You do not pay any direct legal fees out of your own pocket. If the case is not successful, no legal fees will be charged.

By agreement with the representative plaintiffs, counsel fees may be calculated at 30 per cent of any amounts recovered. If a settlement, judgment, voluntary payment or execution or other  benefit is obtained, the lawyers will apply to the court for approval of a fee that is consistent with the terms of this agreement, or some lesser amount. The court will decide what amount is fair.

This arrangement compensates the lawyers for the risk they have assumed in advancing the case and performing the legal work. The lawyers do not receive any money unless the case is successful. Even if the class action does not succeed, class members are not responsible for the fees of any of the lawyers involved in the case.

To contact the lawyers involved in this case you can write Peter Driscoll, McInnes Cooper, 1300-1969 Upper Water St., Purdy’s Wharf Tower II, Box 730, Halifax, NS B3J 2V1 and Ward Branch, Branch MacMaster, 1210-777 Hornby St., Vancouver, BC V6Z 1S4.

You may also monitor the website www.mcinnescooper.com.

Serving You is written by Legion command service officers. To reach a service officer call toll-free 1-877-534-4666, or consult a command website. For 3 years of archives, visit www.legionmagazine.com

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