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Law firm pursuing class action over Mud Lake flooding

Mud Lake and Happy Valley-Goose Bay were damaged by flooding recently and many in the community blame the Muskrat Falls project.
Mud Lake was damaged by flooding in 2017. File photo

A Halifax law firm is trying to get a class action lawsuit certified over the flooding in May 2017 that caused an emergency evacuation of Mud Lake residents.

On May 16, 2017, water levels in the Churchill River, downstream of the Muskrat Falls project and near the Town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay, rose to “unprecedented” levels, Wagners alleges. Residents of the area were evacuated – some were airlifted by helicopter — out of the area during the early morning of May 17.

The certification hearing will take place in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador Thursday and Friday.

Wagners said residents are seeking compensation for severely damaged properties, a reduction in property value due to the threat of repeated flooding caused by the Muskrat Falls project, and the loss of destroyed personal property, on top of compensation for the anxiety caused to property owners and non-owners alike by having to be evacuated and relocated.

The proposed class action filed by Wagners has named Nalcor Energy and the province of Newfoundland and Labrador as the defendants. Both defendants are opposing the application for certification, Wagners said.

“We intend to provide submissions to the court outlining our position as to why this action is eminently suited to proceed as a class action. If and when the action is certified, we can proceed to a common issues trial, where the focus will be on the liability of the defendants to compensate the class for the losses that they have sustained,” lawyer Raymond Wagner said in a news release.

 “The link between the flooding and the Muskrat Falls project will be the initial focus of the trial. Historically, the water levels had never reached the levels seen during the event in May 2017, so it is not apparent that the flooding was a naturally occurring event. This flooding event has caused many hardships and great stress, and residents are seeking appropriate compensation and answers as to why the flooding occurred.”

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