|Rubble is seen at the Algo Centre Mall in Elliot Lake on June 27, 2012. (REUTERS/Nathan Denette/Pool)
ELLIOTLAKE, ONT. - The victims of the mall collapse in this northern Ontario city have filed a $30 million class-action lawsuit against a group of defendants, including the head of the company that owns the mall and the city of Elliot Lake.
The roof of the Algo Centre Mall collapsed on June 23, killing two women. Another 22 people were injured and hundreds have been left unemployed in the aftermath. Teams continue to clean out the rubble the city’s retail hub.
The two lead plaintiffs in the lawsuit are Elaine and Jack Quinte, who own Hungry Jack’s, a restaurant in the mall’s food court.
Eastwood Mall Inc., the company that owns the mall, and Robert Nazarian, the head of Eastwood Mall Inc., have been named separately as defendants.
Douglas Elliott, a lawyer with one of the three firms filing the class-action suit, said at an afternoon press conference here that Nazarian was named personally because they believe he was aware of problems with the mall’s roof and failed to correct them.
The City of Elliot Lake is named as a defendant for its “role in inspecting buildings and its power to require remedial action with respect to the conditions of the mall,” Elliot said. An engineering firm known for the moment only under a pseudonym has also been named as a defendant in the suit.
Lawyers also notified the province of Ontario that it is being named in the suit.
“The Ministry of Labour had been in to inspect the site several times because it posed a threat to people working in the mall area. So, there was a concern under the Occupational Health and Safety Act,” Elliott said.
“It is our claim that the work by the Ministry of Labour was also ineffective.”
The city of Elliot Lake is named as a defendant because of its “role in inspecting buildings and its power to require remedial action with respect to the conditions of the mall,” Elliott said.
None of the allegations made in the claim have been proven in court.
Doloris Perizzolo, 74, and Lucie Aylwin, 37, were killed in the collapse.