On (permanent) hiatus.

March 24, 2008

It is with great sadness that I have to officially put an end to this site. A while back, I attempted to shift the focus of Class Action Quebec towards the defensive aspects of class action lawsuits. Unfortunately, after many hours spent developing a game plan on how to implement those changes, I was unable to come up with anything that made sense and no posts have been made since.

When I started this site, my goal was simple: reporting on the most interesting cases and news related to class action lawsuits. However, the new philosophy of the site would have lead me to report on and discuss case law in greater detail, a most time consuming chore that was contrary to what I had envisioned Class Action Quebec being when I started this project in 2006. Furthermore, my professional responsibilities prevent me from continuing the site under its previous banner.

With that said, although Class Action Quebec’s lifespan was relatively short, I’d like to believe that in that time, I was somewhat able to accomplish my original goal.

So, in closing, I thank all the visitors who took the time to drop by and read my posts.

Abraham A. Tachjian, B.A., LL.B.


Changes coming

May 16, 2007

I am happy to report that the site will be up and running again in a very short period of time. I would also like to take this opportunity to announce that Class Action Quebec will soon be shifting gears to concentrate on the defense of class action lawsuits. Stay tuned!


April 7, 2007

I must apologise to the readers of the site for the lack of updates in the last few weeks. There have been many interesting cases lately and rest assured, I will be covering them soon.


Maintenance charges?

March 22, 2007

L’Union des consommateurs is seeking authorisation for a class action lawsuit against Bell Canada with respect to a cable maintenance program. The suit alleges that Bell’s residential phone line customers were put on a yearly plan that charged them 5$ a month for a service that they had not requested. The group is seeking the reimbursement of all fees paid by customers with regards to the plan, 100$ in damages per class member as well as an additional 100$ in punitive damages per class member.

Read more about it here and here (in French).

If you would like to become a class member, click here.

Gender discrimination

March 16, 2007

Although women have made great strides in the workforce over the last few decades, they are still subject to gender discrimination and pay equity issues. For example, the number of female students at my law school far outnumber the male students. However, this numerical superiority is not reflected in the workforce as the number of female partners in Montreal law firms pales in comparison to the number of male partners.

Keeping with the subject, the brokerage firm of Morgan Stanley has just settled a class action with regards to gender discrimination. Although I rarely discuss matters related to American class actions, I found this one particularly interesting, not to mention the fact that last week (March 8th) was International Women’s Day.

Female employees had accused the brokerage firm of offering better training and mentoring opportunities to men, along with more lucrative accounts and promotions. Some women even claimed to have been fired due to their gender.

Read more about it here.

Who’s responsible for these charges?

March 15, 2007

That’s exactly what some customers of a local telephone company are asking themselves. Télébec customers who were forced to pay costly invoices due to long distance calls have decided to fight back and file a class action against the provider. It seems that the clients were all victims of phone pirating whereby “hackers” used their lines in order to make expensive long distance calls. Although the company admitted that the phone calls were placed by crooks, it still held its clients responsible for the full amount.

This case received authorization this week. Read more about it here (in French).

Developments from across the pond

March 13, 2007

In an effort to boost cross border sales between member states of the European Union, as well as strengthening consumer rights, the EU commission is proposing a union wide class action law. Among the 27 states that form the EU, only 15 have class action laws and these suits are allowed within national borders only.

Meglena Kuneva, the European Union’s Consumer Affairs Commissioner, is convinced that the bloc’s market can be the largest retail market in the world. However, as she put it, “it remains fragmented to 27 national mini-markets, depriving consumers of lower prices, better choice and the European economy from an additional source of growth.” By introducing union wide class actions, consumers from across the bloc would be able to join together and claim compensation from companies that provided them with flawed products or services. This in turn would boost consumer confidence and lead to higher spending.

The law is being modeled after the American class action but with EU specific provisions. For example, consumers would be alerted to dangerous products.

It is interesting to compare the legislative intent behind the Quebec law and the EU’s proposal. When the Quebec law was passed in 1978, it had a social purpose in the sense that it was providing a legal recourse to individuals who shared a common problem of minimal pecuniary value and who would not and could not otherwise have access to the judicial system.  Although the EU’s  proposal seems to be  consumer oriented, its main purpose is economic in the sense that it is attempting to motivate spending.

With that in mind, I fail to see how the introduction of a bloc wide class action law will lead to economic growth. When a person decides to purchase a product outside of his country,  his decision is based on price, not the legal recourses available to him. As Ms. Kuneva points out, the proposed  union wide  class action should not be  “an invitation to  be more litigious”.  Frankly, in this case, I can’t see it being anything but. Tell me what you think.

Read more about it here, here and here.