The Canadian multinational has appealed to the courts to try to demonstrate the responsibility of other actors in the pyrrhotite saga, with the aim that they can pay part of the damages that the company and its partners have been ordered to pay. to victims.
In a judgment rendered Thursday, the Superior Court of Quebec did not rule in favor of SNC-Lavalin, however.
The company sought to demonstrate the responsibility of Lafarge Canada, the manufacturer of the cement powder used to make concrete, as well as a geologist employed by Lafarge Canada, Marie de Grosbois.
The judge Pierre Ouellet concludes that neither Lafarge Canada nor its geologist Marie de Grosbois was at fault. They are therefore not responsible for the damage caused to the victims of pyrrhotite and do not have to contribute to their compensation.
In 2005, Marie de Grobois “behaved like a reasonable professional, considering that a recommendation to stop using aggregates was sent in spring 2006, verbally and in writing, to the representatives of Béton Laurentide”, perhaps. we read in the summary of this judgment which has a hundred pages.
“However, the concrete mixer continued to use aggregates in the manufacture of its concrete, ignoring the warning from Lafarge Canada,” the summary said.
Lafarge Canada is a 30% shareholder of Béton Laurentide, a concrete manufacturing company in the region, whose responsibility was retained in the flagship pyrrhotite judgment of 2014, alongside SNC-Lavalin.
“In the absence of any fault on the part of Lafarge Canada and Marie de Grosbois, it is not appropriate for the Court to rule on other questions concerning liability such as causal link and damages”, indicates the summary of the judgment.
Judge Pierre Ouellet writes in his judgment that SNC-Lavalin has not “demonstrated the merits of the allegations of fault”.
He adds that “the professionals employed by Lafarge Canada have not violated any ethical rule” and that “the evidence does not allow us to conclude that Lafarge Canada, through its representatives, would have breached any contractual obligation towards Béton Laurentide. or Career B&B ”.
SNC-Lavalin was represented by Mes Mario Welch, Jean-François Bienjonetti, Marie-Julie Lafleur and Julien tricart, from BCF. Lafarge Canada and Marie de Grosbois had done business with Mes Olivier Therrien, Billy Katelanos and Mary-Pier Marcheterre, by Gowling WLG.
A “well-rounded” judgment
Avocado Pierre Soucy, which represents owners victims of pyrrhotite, salutes the work of the judge.
“The judge has well fleshed out his judgment to explain why he does not accept the fault of Lafarge, but that does not change anything, by the way, the responsibility of SNC-Lavalin,” he says.
Me Soucy affirms that this judgment could have an impact on “wave 2”, but that it is too early to measure the extent of it.
“It remains to be seen whether this decision will be appealed”, underlines the lawyer of the firm Lambert Therrien.
850 homeowners struggling with pyrrhotite received financial compensation last August for damage suffered after more than 10 years of legal battle. They shared about $ 125 million.
The second wave of trials has more than 800 victims. These are people whose construction dates for their building are different from those of the first wave.