CORNER BROOK Western Health has yet to file a statement of defence in a class-action lawsuit in relation to privacy breaches revealed by the Health Authority earlier this year.
Scott Burden of Brothers and Burden Law Office filed a statement of claim in the matter in late August. The statement names Western Health and Donna Colbourne, the employee accused of breaching some 1,043 patient files, as defendants. Colbourne was terminated from her position as a clerk with the health authority following an internal investigation.
Burden said discussions are ongoing between his firm and council for Western Health on how the matter is going to proceed.
“It’s not the same as your typical lawsuit where your defence would normally be filed within 10 days unless there’s an agreement of counsel not to have it filed,” said Burden.
“So there is some support for them not to have to file their defence until such time that the application for certification has been held.”
Burden said a judge has to hear the application to determine whether or not a class exists under the law.
He expects that process will take place in the next couple of months.
The claim filed by Burden names Valerie Dyke and Catherine Allen-Vater as representative plaintiffs, but he said the actual number of plaintiffs is now in the 250 to 300 range.
Meanwhile, Burden said the discussions with Western Health are nowhere near talking settlement.
He said the health authority will want to the see the application for certification held and determine whether Burden and Bob Buckingham will be working together or have competing interests.
Buckingham, a St. John’s lawyer, was the first to file a class-action lawsuit in the matter. That lawsuit lists Barbara Hynes of Corner Brook as the representative plaintiff.