Bankruptcy for Justice?

Barb and Tim Farlow elected to have a malpractice suit against a Toronto hospital heard in small claims court, but a judge has ruled the venue is inappropriate. (Photo by Tim Fraser, National Post Files)

On Monday, November 30th the National Post (a Canadian national newspaper) posted an update on their previous coverage of the Farlow court case. Those of you who are regular readers will recall that the Farlows have made serious allegations against Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto. These allegations amount to the claim that doctors at Sick Kids deliberately killed their baby, Annie, in 2005 because she had a fatal genetic abnormality. The decision handed down from Judge Herman amounted to a claim that small claims court was no place for the kinds of charges that the Farlow’s were raising:

“I appreciate that for the Farlows this case is not about money but is about systemic change. However, the remedies that Mrs. Farlow articulated in court [various orders against Sick Kids requiring it to, for example, change its narcotics dispensing system and give mandatory education to physicians on laws of consent] represent a significant broadening beyond the $10,000 sought in the existing claim.”

The Farlows were pursuing their accusations in small claims court to avoid the enormous legal fees and time that it would take to pursue the charges in a more traditional venue. Given this current turn of events they are now faced with the possibility of taking their charges to the Ontario superior court, where legal costs could easily climb over a half-a-million dollars and the time commitment would be enormous. The Hospital for Sick Children would certainly be a formidable legal foe especially since, guilty or not, they have the resource to simply drag things out until the Farlows have nothing left.
The question that the Farlow’s must now answer is:
are we willing to risk everything–home, savings, and sanity–in our pursuit for justice?

The question the rest of us should be asking is:
should regular people wanting to fight the system have to risk bankruptcy to do so?
(a complete listing of all our previous posts on the Farlows can be found here)
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2 thoughts on “Bankruptcy for Justice?

  1. Pingback: What sorts of Day for Persons with Disabilities? « What Sorts of People

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