March 7, 2022 – Motion to Discontinue Decision
On January 11, 2022, the plaintiffs’ motion seeking the court’s approval to discontinue the class action proceedings, Dowe et al v The Attorney General of Canada, was heard. The Ontario Superior Court of Justice ordered that the proposed class action be “held in abeyance”, or “put on hold.” The Court did not want to discontinue a proposed class action until there is certainty that the Federal Court mass actions will go ahead. Therefore, there is no date currently set for the proposed class action to be discontinued.
Nevertheless, it is important to know that any individuals who want to pursue a claim for compensation for injuries arising from their ordered ingestion of Mefloquine by the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) must file individual lawsuits before the discontinuance of the proposed class action. In other words, if you would like to make a claim for compensation related to your required ingestion of Mefloquine as a CAF member, you cannot rely on the proposed class action to make a claim for you once that action is discontinued. You must pursue an individual lawsuit.
HSH and Waddell Phillips have contacted all individuals who reached out to us about pursuing an individual action previously, and where our records indicate we have not received a signed contingency retainer agreement. Individuals receiving this correspondence, who still want to participate in the Mefloquine mass tort action against the Canadian Government for the ingestion of Mefloquine while employed by the CAF must complete, sign, and return their retainer agreements to us by April 13, 2022.
April 20, 2021 – The Class Action will be discontinued
The plaintiffs of the proposed class action, Dowe et al v The Attorney General of Canada, are bringing a motion seeking the court’s approval to discontinue the class action proceedings, in order to pursue their own claims against the Government of Canada in Federal Court. If the motion for discontinuance is approved by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, then the proposed class action will be concluded. It will not be proceeding to trial and there will be no judgment or settlement in that action, either for or against the proposed class.
It is important to know that any limitation periods that were suspended in favour of class members while the proposed class action is outstanding will start to run again from the effective date of the discontinuance. This could affect your rights if you want to bring your own claim.
Class members who want to bring a lawsuit for injuries they believe they sustained from the ordered ingestion of Mefloquine while a member of the Canadian Armed Forces are advised to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible to learn about their rights.
PLEASE NOTE: If you have already been named as a plaintiff in a Federal Court action, or if you have already signed a retainer, then this discontinuance does NOT affect you.
For more information, you can contact class counsel at:
January 14, 2021 – Federal Court Appeal denied, but claims are moving forward
Our appeal in the Federal Court regarding its jurisdiction over your claims was unfortunately denied by the Court last week because the Government has expressed a desire to assert a claim against Mefloquine’ s manufacturer, Roche. As we have always maintained, the case is not going to end because the Government was successful on this appeal. The legal team has weighed the various options and we believe that it is in everyone’s interest for claims to remain in the Federal Court. We intend to accomplish this by revising the Claim to focus only on the liability of the Federal Government and Military. We will be filing the required documents with the Federal Court on behalf of our retained clients to accomplish this goal. If you are a retained client, nothing further is required from you at this time.
Now that we are proceeding with filing all claims in Federal Court, we will not be taking on any further clients after May 30, 2021.
September 18, 2020 – Jurisdiction Motion:
Earlier this week, the Federal Court granted the motion of the Federal Government, and have stayed our cases in the Federal Court. We are now contemplating whether we should launch an appeal.
As many of you will recall, the legal team has always been of the view that the motion was just an attempt by the Federal Government to stall the litigation. The decision of the Federal Court does not stop the litigation. Your case is still moving forward whether it is in the Federal Court or the Superior Court of Justice.
We will provide an update as to our future course of action shortly. Nothing further is required from our clients at this time.
July 27, 2020 -Jurisdiction Motion:
A half-day motion was originally scheduled for April 23, 2020 at the Federal Court. The issue in this motion was whether or not the case would remain in Federal Court. The Federal Government had asked for a stay of the case in Federal Court as it intends to add Hoffmann-Laroche to the litigation. However, due to COVID-19, the motion was rescheduled to May 27, 2020.
All parties appeared via video conference on May 27, 2020 and made submissions to the presiding Prothonotary.
We continue to await the decision of the Prothonotary and will provide updates as soon as the decision is released.
November 25, 2019:
Update: August 16, 2019
Update: September 30, 2019:
Update: October 18, 2019:
- Decision on Jurisdiction Motion, dated September 16, 2020
- Statement of Claim (Somalia – Bona, Lalancette Elms)
- Statement of Claim (Africa – McEachern Brooks)
- Statement of Claim (Afghanistan – Arntsen, Rude Lepine)
- Statement of Claim (Rwanda et al – Alexander)
- Statement of Claim (Somalia – Aitken)
- Statement of Claim (Afghanistan – Boulay)
During the 1990s, it was common for military personnel to be prescribed Mefloquine, an antimalarial medication, when deployed to areas around the world where malaria was prevalent. However, issues with the drug have since been discovered causing some to be concerned. In fact, in 2016, Health Canada updated the warning labels for mefloquine, highlighting serious side effects – anxiety, paranoia, depression, hallucinations, psychotic behaviour and thoughts of suicide –which can persist for months or years after taking the drug.
A class action was commenced in 2000 against the Canadian Government; the case was dismissed for delay in April 2018.
HSH has partnered with Waddell Phillips as Co-Counsel to bring forth individual claims for any member, or former member, of Canadian Armed Forces who was ordered to take Mefloquine from years 1992 to present.
- To learn more on the differences between class actions and mass torts, read our article here.
If you or a loved one is taking or has taken Mefloquine and has experienced harmful side effects associated with its use, HSH personal injury lawyers Paul Miller and Michael Henry can help you to identify whether you may benefit from taking part in this legal action.
Side Effects of Mefloquine
Mefloquine has been reported to cause a number of symptoms in those who’ve taken the drug, including anxiety, depression, suicidal and homicidal thoughts, paranoia, delusions and hallucinations. Health Canada recently updated its warning labels to reflect those side effects. Though the Canadian military conducted its own review which determined that the drug doesn’t have any long-term effects, it now only prescribes mefloquine as a drug of last resort.
A number of veterans claim they have suffered significant side effects from mefloquine which they say they were forced to take when deployed to Somalia in 1992 and 1993. They say the anti-malaria drug was prescribed as part of a clinical trial which didn’t follow proper procedure. According to the rules of clinical trials, soldiers must provide consent before taking a new drug and be made aware of possible side effects. They should also be advised to avoid alcohol when taking the drug and must be monitored and treated for any negative side effects.
By not following those rules, the veterans claim the federal government hasn’t effectively met its duty of care. As a result, many are now suffering from a variety of side effects from mefloquine, including depression, anxiety, aggressive behaviour, paranoia, psychiatric symptoms, brain damage and suicidal thoughts.
Today the Canadian military seldom prescribes mefloquine. In June of 2017 the Department of National Defence announced that Mefloquine would only be recommended for use if a CAF member requests it, or if there are contraindications to the member being prescribed other anti-malarials.
What’s Being Done?
By prescribing mefloquine without following proper procedure for a clinical trial, and failing to inform our forces of the side effects, members of the military have suffered debilitating medical symptoms, some serious with long-term impact. HSH lawyers Paul Miller and Michael Henry, along with Waddell Phillips, want to hold the Canadian Government accountable.
The objective of the mefloquine lawsuit in Canada is to help its victims receive compensation for the drug’s harmful effects and for being part of a clinical trial that didn’t follow proper procedure despite potential risks. As a mass tort litigation, cases proceed on an individual basis.
HSH lawyers can help you create a claim for compensation and damages based on the pain, suffering and losses you have experienced after experiencing side effects from a drug. If you or a loved one has been prescribed mefloquine and have experienced harm as a result, HSH can explain your rights and determine whether you may benefit from participating in this mass tort litigation.
Call us today at 1-877-771-7006 for a free consultation.