Koskie Minsky LLP and Sutts, Strosberg LLP have commenced a class action against The Hospital for Sick Children (“SickKids”) due to flawed hair-strand drug and alcohol testing conducted by its Motherisk Drug Testing Laboratory (“Motherisk”) between 2005 and 2015.
Dr. Gideon Koren, the founder and laboratory director of Motherisk, and Joey Gareri, the laboratory manager at Motherisk, are also named as individual defendants in the lawsuit.
The claim alleges that the defendants were negligent by, among other things, failing to meet internationally recognized forensic standards with Motherisk’s hair-testing and by failing to provide proper oversight to ensure the quality, proficiency and accreditation of its tests.
The plaintiff seeks damages for negligence and punitive damages, and brings the lawsuit on behalf of:
- all persons who tested positive from a hair-strand drug and/or alcohol test administered by Motherisk between January 2005 and April 2015 (the proposed “Class”); and
- all parents, grandparents, children, grandchildren, siblings and spouses of Class members within the meaning of the Family Law Act (the proposed “Family Class”).
On December 17, 2015, following an extensive investigation as the appointed “Independent Reviewer”, The Honourable Susan E. Lang released her findings in a report, which found many alarming issues, including:
- The hair-strand drug and alcohol testing used by Motherisk between 2005 and 2015 was “inadequate and unreliable for use in child protection and criminal proceedings”.
- Between 2005 and 2015, Motherisk “operated in a manner that did not meet internationally recognized forensic standards”.
- SickKids “did not provide meaningful oversight” over Motherisk.
- The use of Motherisk hair-testing evidence in child protection and criminal proceedings “has serious implications for the fairness of those proceedings”.
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