Alberta’s former chief medical examiner, Dr. Amy Sauvageau, amends her multimillion-dollar lawsuit against Alberta. Gov’t defends itself by calling the lawsuit “groundless and vexatious” and opposed the amendments. Court approved them.

Former chief medical examiner amends multimillion-dollar lawsuit by Paige Parsons, July 30, 2017, Edmonton Journal in Canada.com

A former Alberta chief medical examiner is amending her multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the province for the fifth time, bringing her total claim to $7.5-million.

Dr. Anny Sauvageau launched a $5-million wrongful dismissal case in 2015, alleging political interference when she worked as the province’s most senior forensic pathologist. Sauvageau began working for the Alberta Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in 2010, holding the position of chief medical examiner between July 2011 and June 2014.

Sauvageau’s initial claim was that the province had wrongfully refused or failed to renew her contract, but in mid-June she filed an application to update the claim to argue that she when she was hired, she was assured she would have a job in the Alberta office until retirement.

In her proposed amendments, Sauvageau alleges that her contract with the office was partly oral and partly in writing. She alleges that when she was being recruited by her predecessor in the role, Dr. Graeme Dowling, he promised her employment with the Alberta office until she retired, decided to leave or was fired with cause.

She claims Dowling told her three times that the written contract she signed for a five-year term was only required because she was going to be paid more than the salary grid for regular Government of Alberta employees.

“The plaintiff inquired of Dr. Dowling if she needed to speak with a lawyer before signing the written portion of the contract, and Dr. Dowling advised her no, the written contract was just a formality,” the amendment reads.

Sauvageau initially filed a 24-page statement of claim, listing a variety of causes of action including anguish, mental distress and loss of income.

The government opposed allowing the new amendments, arguing that they were hopeless, late, and introduce prejudices that won’t be compensable by costs. [According to the new rules of court, 2010, plaintiffs can file however many amendments are needed. Prior to the new court rules, only one amendment was allowed.]

In a mid-July ruling, the amendments were approved by the court.

In its initial statement of defence filed in February 2014, the government called the lawsuit “groundless and vexatious.” Alberta Justice alleged that Sauvageau’s contract wasn’t renewed in the “public interest” and that she “was either unwilling or unable to function properly” in the position. [Alberta Justice? Where?]

The province announced it wasn’t renewing Sauvageau’s contract in November 2014. Dowling filled in on an interim basis after she left, and the province’s next hire, Dr. Jeffrey Gofton quit less than 18-months after he started.

In July 2016, Dr. Elizabeth Brooks-Lim began filling in on an “interim acting” basis. Her permanent appointment to the role was announced in December. [Emphasis added]

Original source article: Former chief medical examiner amends multimillion-dollar lawsuit

 

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