Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Harassed RCMP Sergeant Offered to Settle Years Ago; Wants $1 Million in Costs

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Harassed RCMP Sergeant Offered to Settle Years Ago; Wants $1 Million in Costs

Article excerpt

Harassed RCMP sergeant wants $1M legal costs

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TORONTO - An RCMP sergeant awarded hefty damages for years of harassment by superiors now wants more than $1 million to cover the cost of fighting his protracted lawsuit, court filings show.

The documents also indicate that the government failed to respond to a detailed offer from Sgt. Peter Merrifield to settle his claim in 2007, and again refused to negotiate a mediated settlement in 2011, resulting now in a potentially substantial tab to taxpayers.

Correspondence from late 2007 shows the Department of Justice initially expressed interest in negotiating a resolution, prompting Merrifield, then a corporal, to propose a settlement. His offer included promotion to sergeant with back pay retroactive to April 2006 -- a promotion he said he had been unable to earn because superiors had made groundless complaints against him.

He also wanted his clearance restored so he could to return to national security and intelligence duties, no restrictions on public speaking engagements, and damages of $110,000.

"The above listed remedies are designed to return Mr. Merrifield to the position he would have enjoyed but for the wrongful actions of the defendants," his lawyer Laura Young wrote the Department of Justice in December 2007.

In an affidavit filed this week in support of the costs claim, an RCMP staff-relations representative said he became "quite frustrated" in 2011 at the breakdown of mediation and tried to get Merrifield and his superiors to sit down and thrash out the issues.

According to Staff-Sgt. Brian Reed, a meeting did take place in London, Ont., in September 2011. On hand were Merrifield, his lawyers, RCMP Assistant Commissioner Stephen White and lawyers for the Justice Department.

Merrifield, a father of three, laid out what he wanted: Promotion to sergeant retroactive with pay to 2006, $60,000 in damages, and his legal costs.

"Neither AComm White nor the Department of Justice lawyers put any proposal forward at all during the course of the meeting," Reed says in the affidavit. …

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