Newspaper article The Canadian Press

'60S Scoop Payouts on Hold as Fight Rages over $75 Million in Legal Fees

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

'60S Scoop Payouts on Hold as Fight Rages over $75 Million in Legal Fees

Article excerpt

'60s Scoop payouts on hold as fee fight rages

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TORONTO - A novel effort by some survivors to challenge the court-approved settlement of the '60s Scoop class action amid a squabble over $75 million in legal fees could delay payments to the victims, court documents show.

The request to appeal the agreement finalized over the summer rather than opt out -- fewer than a dozen class members have done so -- comes from a group of Scoop victims unhappy with the deal and was filed through a law firm shut out of the resulting fee arrangement.

Among other things, the 11 plaintiffs allege they were excluded from the process that led to court approval of the $750-million agreement that would pay survivors as much as $50,000 a piece for the harms done when they, as children, were taken from their Indigenous families and placed with non-Indigenous ones.

"The applicants are concerned that their interests together with the interests of other class members ... have not been adequately protected," they claim in their Oct. 1 application for leave to appeal to the Federal Court of Appeal.

One of the applicants, Joan Frame, of Hamilton, had previously alleged to The Canadian Press that the lawyers who negotiated the settlement -- some of whom worked on the case for free for the better part of a decade -- "resorted to trickery" to get the agreement.

"To allow people to win illegally and make money off our backs and suffering again should not be allowed to happen," said Frame, who wrote the chief justice of the Federal Court after the settlement received final approval in September.

In new filings this week, lawyer Jai Singh Sheikhupura with Vancouver-based Watson Goepel writes that the applicants don't want to delay the implementation of the settlement. Their only wish, he says, is to have the court review class-counsel fees.

On Wednesday, Canadian government lawyer Catherine Moore warned in a letter to the court that implementation of the settlement could not proceed until the legal action was over. …

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