August 16, 2022

The Queens County Citizen

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Clerks de Saint-Viacher: Lawyers are very greedy

Clerks de Saint-Viacher: Lawyers are very greedy

Victims of sexual abuse by religious leaders are currently missing out on $28 million in damages because a judge believes their lawyers are lining their pockets by charging exorbitant fees.

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“These fees are excessive and, above all, not in the best interest of members,” argued Justice Thomas M. Davis in a recent decision.

Last January, hundreds of Clerques de Saint-Viatre victims breathed a sigh of relief after a $28 million settlement was reached that spared them from having to testify at trial.

A total of 420 victims have come forward since 2017 and more than 50 have identified their attackers.

According to lawyers leading the case, the father, Jean Pilon alone, was identified by 60 complainants.

The father, Jean Pilon, is singled out by 60 complainants, according to lawyers leading the case.

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The father, Jean Pilon, is singled out by 60 complainants, according to lawyers leading the case.

However, more than $8 million had to be taken out of the kitty to pay the victims’ attorneys’ fees, which is 25% of the total, plus applicable taxes and attorneys’ costs of the case.

A member of the class action contested the situation, lamenting that the “claimed fees were unreasonable.”

More than 3000 hours

The lawyers for the plaintiff told the court that they worked for 3,479 hours on this case, and each hour worked differently.

But there are at least 800 hours left to devote to it. In total, this represents $1.5 million.

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However, the judge felt that their premium was too high to get a 25% monopoly in the deal.

The latter relied on other class action settlements to reach this conclusion under the “multiplier method.”

He acknowledged that calculations of this magnitude had appeared in the past, “but this was not the norm,” Judge Davis wrote.

“This observation does not question the dedication or the skill (acquired partially during the course of action) of the class counsel. They did a great job,” he underlined.

“Respect the decision”

Contacted by News magazineThe firm Arsenault Dufresne v Advocates indicated that it “respects the judge’s decision”.

I am Alain Arsenault

Courtesy image

I am Alain Arsenault

“We have noted the judgment, but we do not agree. We will rectify the situation by reducing our fees as part of the new contract that we intend to conclude soon,” said Smt.e Alain Arsenault.

The latter are not in a position to say how much their share of the pie will be as part of this reduction.

“It’s too early to announce anything, except for one thing: our fees will be reduced,” he reiterated, adding that he hopes to complete four weeks here.

For the victims

In response to the ruling, retired judge Nicole Gibiault welcomed Judge Davis’ decision.

“The victims are the ones who really benefit from the sums in collective actions, the money must go,” she insisted.

The comments echo those of the high court’s Chief Justice, Jacques R. Fournier, who warned that class actions can become “profit centers for lawyers.”

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“The system is not designed to benefit the agents of the system. It is designed to benefit the population,” he told our Bureau of Investigation, calling on legislators to take action to improve the situation.

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