Victim’s father files request for $22 million class-action lawsuit after Old Montreal fire
The father of one of the victims of the Old Montreal filed an application on Friday for the authorization of a $22 million class-action lawsuit against, among others, the building’s owner and Airbnb.
Randy Sears, the father of Nathan Sears, a 35-year-old man who died in the March 16 fire that claimed six other lives, is the plaintiff in the case before the Quebec Superior Court.
According to the document presented on Friday, the negligence lawsuit targets the owner of the building, Émile Benamor, the owner of the short-term rental units, Tariq Hasan, who listed several units for rent on Airbnb, as well as Airbnb itself.
Of the seven people who lost their lives, six were staying in short-term rentals without permits.
The lawsuit, yet to be authorized, would include family members of the occupants who perished in the fire and anyone who was in the building that day.
At least 22 people were inside, all of whom likely have family members who were also affected by the events, the document says.
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The class action claim seeks $22 million in punitive damages for violating members’ rights to personal safety and dignity under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Mr. Sears is seeking to be the class representative in this matter.
The last two victims were identified on Tuesday by Coroner Gehane Kamel. They are Charlie Lacroix, 18, and Walid Belkahla, also 18.
In doing so, the bodies of all the victims who perished in the major fire have been removed from the rubble, with the discovery of two new bodies, Monday morning.
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Five victims had previously been formally identified: Nathan Sears, 35 years old, An Wu, Dania Zafar and Saniya Khan, all 31 years old, and Camille Maheux, 76 years old.
In addition to the seven people who died, nine people were injured and taken to hospital and six were unharmed.
Now that the victims have all been accounted for, the investigation will focus on finding the cause and circumstances of the fire.
Many questions have been raised, including the emergency exits and the lack of windows in some units.
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In the wake of the tragedy, Airbnb announced that it would remove illegal listings in Quebec from its site. The Quebec government has pledged to introduce a bill to force other platforms to do the same.
–with files from Alessia Simona Maratta, Global News
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