BC Supreme Court quashes First Nation’s appeal against opioid crisis settlement approval

The case originated from a class action lawsuit to recover healthcare costs due to the opioid crisis

BC Supreme Court quashes First Nation’s appeal against opioid crisis settlement approval

The BC Court of Appeal has ruled against the Lac La Ronge Indian Band's appeal efforts, effectively maintaining the approval of a settlement between Purdue Pharma Canada and various Canadian governments concerning opioid-related healthcare costs.

The dispute in Lac La Ronge Indian Band v. British Columbia, 2024 BCCA 58 originated from a class action lawsuit initiated by the Province of British Columbia in 2018 on behalf of Canadian federal, provincial, and territorial governments. The lawsuit aimed to recover healthcare costs associated with the opioid crisis, alleging that pharmaceutical companies, including Purdue Canada, committed actionable wrongs that contributed to the crisis.

In May 2022, Purdue Canada agreed to a settlement of $150 million payable to the class over seven years, along with providing specific disclosures and access to interview Purdue Canada’s senior commercial employees.

Lac La Ronge, which is not a party to this class action and has initiated its separate lawsuit in Saskatchewan related to the opioid crisis, sought to intervene in the BC Supreme Court's approval process of the settlement. The band argued that the settlement unfairly prioritized claims against Purdue Canada's assets, potentially disadvantaging other claimants in opioid-related litigation. However, the BC Supreme Court rejected Lac La Ronge's intervention attempt and approved the settlement.

Dissatisfied, Lac La Ronge appealed both the decision denying their intervention and the settlement approval. However, the BC Court of Appeal quashed these appeals, emphasizing that Lac La Ronge, a non-party to the class action and not a creditor of Purdue Canada, lacked standing to appeal the settlement approval. The court also highlighted that the issues raised by Lac La Ronge were moot since the settlement had already been approved and that their appeal of the intervention denial was without merit.

The court's decision to quash the appeals reaffirmed that only parties directly involved in a class action settlement have the right to appeal settlement approval orders. The court further clarified the distinction between having an interest in the subject matter of class action and being a legal party with the right to appeal decisions within that action. Additionally, the court underscored the importance of adjudicating appeals based on solid legal standing and the case's merits rather than allowing the appeal process to be extended unnecessarily. Ultimately the court decided to quash the appeals and awarded costs of the application to the province and Purdue Canada.

Recent articles & video

Bennett Jones appears in seven commercial list cases this past week

SCC hearings tackle Charter rights to vote and to trial within reasonable time

SCC confirms manslaughter convictions in case about proper jury instructions on causation

Law firm associate attrition continues to decline, NALP Foundation study shows

How systemizing law firm work allocation enhances diversity efforts and overcomes affinity bias

Dentons advises Saturn on $600 million acquisition of Saskatchewan oil assets

Most Read Articles

Ontario Court of Appeal upholds anesthesiologist’s liability in severe birth complications case

BC Supreme Court rules vehicle owner and driver liable for 2011 Chilliwack collision

Petition to remove estate executor does not amount to ‘reprehensible conduct:’ BC Supreme Court

Top 20 personal injury law firms for 2024 revealed by Canadian Lawyer