This case was heard in the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal.
A group of plaintiffs from Sydney, Nova Scotia initiated legal proceedings against Ispat Sidbec Inc. ("Ispat"), Hawker Siddeley Canada Inc. ("Hawker"), Domtar Inc. ("Domtar"), the Province of Nova Scotia, the Canadian National Railway Company, and the federal Crown, in a complex case that alleged property contamination, environmental hazards, and health concerns resulting from the operation of coke ovens, a steel plant, and related industrial facilities in Sydney.
Over the course of several legal proceedings, the plaintiffs restructured their case until it took on its final shape as a class action claim against Sydney Steel Corporation, the Province of Nova Scotia, and the federal Crown. The plaintiffs applied for class action certification, and in order to grant them that certification the Court had to determine whether the plaintiffs met the requirements listed in Nova Scotia’s Class Proceedings Act.
After the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia held that the plaintiffs had met the requirements for class action certification, the defendants appealed to the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal. There, the Court concluded that the lower court had erred in granting the class action certification. The Court held that the facts did not support the plaintiffs’ claims in strict liability ("the rule in Rylands v. Fletcher"), trespass, battery, and negligent battery, and it also held that the class members were not similar enough for the claims in nuisance, negligence, and fiduciary duty to truly be held in common. Additionally, the Court held that a class action proceeding was not the best means by which the plaintiffs could access justice. For all of these reasons, the class action was decertified by the Court of Appeal.
After the Court of Appeal made its decision, this further decision was required to determine the costs and disbursements that the Province of Nova Scotia and federal Crown could recover from the plaintiffs.
To read related decisions by the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal, go to Canada (Attorney General) v. MacQueen, 2013 NSCA 143 (CanLII), Sydney Steel Corporation v. MacQueen, 2013 NSCA 5 (CanLII), MacQueen v. Canada (Attorney General), 2014 NSCA 73 (CanLII), and Sydney Steel Corporation v. MacQueen, 2012 NSCA 78 (CanLII).
To read about further appeals to the Supreme Court of Canada, go to Neila Catherine MacQueen, et al. v. Attorney General of Canada, et al., 2015 CanLII 17890 (SCC) and Neila Catherine MacQueen, et al. v. Attorney General of Canada, et al., 2015 CanLII 1219 (SCC).
To read about this case in the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, go to MacQueen v. Sydney Steel Corporation, 2011 NSSC 484 (CanLII), MacQueen v. Sydney Steel Corporation, 2012 NSSC 461 (CanLII), and MacQueen v. Sydney Steel Corporation, 2013 NSSC 442 (CanLII).