WESTCOURT CLASS ACTION

  1. On November 12, 2019, a fire took place in the basement garage of the high-rise building known as Westcourt Place, located at 251 Goyeau Street and 99 Chatham Street East in Windsor.
  2. The fire caused damage to the building resulting in losses suffered by Westcourt Place’s commercial tenants, their partners, associates and employees, as well as Westcourt Place’s residential tenants, their families and guests (“Class”).
  3. Strosberg Sasso Sutts LLP commenced a proposed class action on behalf of the Class. The Notice of Action was issued on November 14, 2019 and the Statement of Claim filed on November 28, 2019. On December 2, 2019, the claim was served on the defendant. The defendant appointed counsel on December 11, 2019.
  4. This class action seeks compensation:
    1. for commercial tenants, their partners, associates and employees for, among other things:
      1. business interruption or income loss;
      2. out of pocket expenses;
      3. loss of use of their premises;
      4. personal injury; and
      5. any Family Law Act claims.
    2. for residential tenants, their families and guests for, among other things:
      1. out of pocket expenses including living expenses for food, travel and alternate accommodation;
      2. out of pocket expenses for cleaning, restoring, repairing or replacing property damaged as a result of the fire;
      3. loss of use and enjoyment of their units;
      4. personal injury; and
      5. any Family Law Act claims.
  5. If you are a tenant or fall within the Class definition, it is very important for you to document your losses. We urge you to keep a record of all out of pocket expenses you incurred as a result of the fire. Please keep all receipts in a secure location because they will be required later.
  6. All tenants who have insurance and have suffered losses should notify their insurer of any claims for property loss or damage.
  7. Anyone who suffered personal injury as a result of the fire is urged to consult with a doctor and have their medical conditions recorded in their file.
  8. If you were affected by the fire and fall with the Class definition above, please provide us with your information and complete our confidential online questionnaire here so we can notify you of important developments.
  9. It has come to our attention that Westcourt is asking you to fill out a form setting out the amount of the valuables that you have in your unit. We recommend that you do not provide that information. Westcourt is not entitled to this information at this time. Moreover, it is very difficult for you to make an accurate estimate of your valuables.
  10. The defendant has advised that they will take NO STEPS to ask anyone to remove their belongings until there is a further order of the court. If you are told anything to the contrary, please let us know immediately.
  11. The defendant also advised that several people wish to access their unit and terminate their lease. We have advised the defendant that they ought to permit the tenants to access their units and have asked the defendant to provide the form of release they wish to have signed. We have not been provided with the form of release yet.
  12. Please do not sign any document without speaking to us first.

    New Judge
  13. In October, we learned that Justice Verbeem, the judge who was appointed to hear all the motions in this class action, would no longer be available to manage this class action. We immediately asked for a new judge to be appointed and in November, we learned that Justice Nicholson, who regularly sits in London, has been appointed as the new judge to hear all the motions in this class action.
  14. On November 12, 2020, the parties held their first case conference with Justice Nicholson. At the case conference, we asked for a date to be set for the certification motion, but the judge did not do so at that time and invited the parties to schedule another case conference once the new third party appoints counsel.

    Statement of Defence and Third Party Claim
  15. The defendant delivered its Statement of Defence in the action. The defendant also delivered a Third Party Claim. The purpose of a third party claim is for the defendant to sue other parties that the defendant believes is also at fault. The defendant sued Tyco Integrated Fire & Security Canada, Inc., who provided annual inspection and maintenance for the fire suppression and alarm system at Westcourt, Troy Life & Fire Safety Ltd., who provided monitoring support for all the building life and safety alarm systems at Westcourt, and MK Electric Ltd., who carried out repairs to the alarm and life and safety system at Westcourt as directed by Tyco, as third parties.
  16. At the November 12, 2020 case conference, Justice Nicholson signed an order permitting the defendant to add A.P.I. Alarm Inc., to whom Troy sub-contracted the monitoring of the alarm systems at Westcourt, as another third party. We expect the defendant to deliver an Amended Statement of Defence and an Amended third party Claim shortly.

    Next Steps
  17. The first major step in a class action is to get the Court’s permission to proceed as a class action, or to be certified as a class action. On July 8, 2020 we delivered our motion record for certification to the defendant.
  18. On January 18, 2021, all of the third parties delivered their Statements of Defence. Once the third parties appointed counsel and delivered defences, we immediately served them with our motion record for certification.
  19. The certification motion is scheduled for September 23 and 24, 2021 by Zoom. If Court resources permit, on September 22, 2021 we will share the link that will allow you and others to watch the proceedings.
  20. As you know, Westcourt is still unavailable for occupancy. Unfortunately, we do not know if or when you can move back home. Once we have any information about this, we will send a further email and update our website.
  21. On May 27, 2021, the Court heard the plaintiffs’ motion asking the Court to order the landlord to move and store your belongings at their expense. Westcourt had advised counsel that they intend to ask the tenants to remove their belongings at their own expense because, according to Westcourt, they intend to advise you that your leases are now at an end. The motion was held online on Zoom.
  22. Please see our Amended Notice of Motion [here] and the Defendant’s Notice of Motion [here]. Our motion asked the court to order the Defendant to move and store your belongings at their own expense during the renovations. The Defendant has now agreed to do that, if you wish your contents to be moved and stored. The Defendant’s motion asked the court to be permitted to communicate with you. We have agreed to the Defendant’s request to communicate with you on this issue.
  23. At the motion on May 27, 2021, Justice Nicholson did not make a decision on the motion. He asked for further written submissions or for counsel to cooperate to resolve the matter. See here for Justice Nicholson’s endorsement on the motion.
  24. As a result, there is no deadline for you to remove your contents from your apartment at this time. You do not need to make any decisions about removing your belongings at this time.
  25. If you would like to know more about how a class action works, please click here.

 

IMPORTANT NOTICE

This website provides general information to potential class members regarding the investigation into a proposed class action on behalf of the commercial tenants, residential tenants, their families and guests. The Court will ultimately decide who will be included as a class member.

The site is not designed to answer questions about your individual situation or entitlement. Do not rely upon the information provided on this website as legal advice in respect of your individual situation nor use it as a substitute for individual legal advice.

This website is updated from time to time to provide potential class members with further information.

Who can participate in the class action?

The proposed class, which is subject to court approval, is comprised of all persons, excluding the building owner, its senior employees, officers or directors, who on November 12, 2019:

  1. rented an Apartment and/or Unit at Westcourt Place; or
  2. was ordinarily resident in an Apartment at Westcourt Place; or
  3. was present in an Apartment and/or a Unit at Westcourt Place; or
  4. owned property in an Apartment and/or a Unit at Westcourt Place; or
  5. had an interest in property located in an Apartment and/or a Unit at Westcourt Place; or
  6. was an employee or independent contractor of a business which was located at Westcourt
    Place; or
  7. who missed a court appearance which was scheduled to take place in the Provincial Offences Court located at Westcourt Place.

The class definition is subject to court approval.


Do I need to sign up to be part of the class action?

No. If you fit within the court’s definition of the class, you are automatically included in the class action unless you follow the instructions the court gives on how to be excluded at the appropriate time. For more information on how a class action works, click here. If you would like class counsel to provide you with updates in the class action, please complete the questionnaire here.

 

How do I contact class counsel?

Due to the volume of inquiries, we recommend that you complete the questionnaire, including any specific questions you may have, here. Responses to the questionnaire are monitored.

 

Do I need to do anything to support my claim in the class action?

Yes. It is very important for you to document your losses. Please keep a record of all out of pocket expenses you incurred as a result of the fire and keep all receipts in a secure location because they will be required later.


I suffered a personal injury as a result of the fire, what should I do?

Please consult with a doctor and have your medical condition(s) recorded in your file.

 

I have tenants insurance. Should I notify my insurer?

Yes. We recommend notifying your insurer as soon as possible.

 

Is the fire investigation still ongoing?

The on-scene fire investigation concluded on November 15, 2019. The investigation will continue off-site and we will provide an update when the results of the investigation are released. We have retained an expert. They will begin investigating in January 2020. We do not know when the investigation will be completed and a report delivered to us.

 

Why is the building still closed?

On November 12, 2019, the Windsor-Essex Medical Officer of Health ordered the complete evacuation of the building.

 

What is happening at the building now?

Control of the building has been turned back to the owner. Westcourt is consulting with its insurance company and its experts. We have not been advised of a timeline for repairs to the building.

 

When can I move back into my unit?

As of December 18, 2019, Westcourt has not given the tenants or us a projected “move-in” date.

 

How do I get access to my unit before re-occupancy?

We suggest that you contact Vickie Heyden, a representative of the owner, at (519) 254-2200 or by email to vickieheyden_westcourt@yahoo.ca.

 

How can I contact building management?

You should contact building management, Vickie Heyden, by telephone at (519) 254-2200 or by email to vickieheyden_westcourt@yahoo.ca. The building manager is setting up an office in downtown Windsor until she can return to her office in the building. We will update this page with the location of the temporary office when accommodations are secured.

 

Is Westcourt allowed to touch, move or clean your belongings without your permission or knowledge?

In our opinion, Westcourt should not deal with your possessions unless you agree or unless the court makes an order, on notice to you, dealing with your possessions.

 

If a tenant treats the lease in Westcourt at an end, and moves elsewhere, is s/he still a Class Member?

If s/he moves to another rental, s/he is still a Class Member. Remember, many Class Members losses may be different from another Class Member who is waiting to move back in.

 

Is there any law or requirement for the building management to provide updates on their progress and expected completion date?

In our opinion, there is no obligation in law for Westcourt’s management to provide updated progress and an expected date of completion. But, common sense dictates some communication should be carried on between management and its tenants. We believe that as of today, Westcourt has no idea when there will be a “move-in” date. But, we believe that the lawyers and management are making inquiries and plans and their spokesperson will advise the Class about Westcourt’s plans.

APRIL 2021 QUESTIONNAIRE

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