The Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal ruled that the St. John’s Roman Catholic Corporation is vicariously liable for abuse at the Mount Cashel orphanage during the 1950s. The Archdiocese has to pay over $1.5 million in compensation to the four plaintiffs.

The Archdiocese had previously avoided liability by arguing that they shouldn’t be vicariously liable for the Christian Brothers who were the ones that committed the abuse. The Court of Appeal rejected this argument noting that the Archdiocese invited the Christian Brothers to Canada and that there was ample evidence of a close relationship between the two.

The Christian Brothers went bankrupt in North America years ago meaning that, up until the Court of Appeal’s decision, the victims had no way to get any further compensation for their damages. The lawsuit, which was started in 1999, brings some long-awaited justice for men who are now in their 70s and 80s.

Eugene Meehan, Q.C. and Thomas Slade of Supreme Advocacy LLP argued the appeal along with trial counsel Geoff Budden and Paul Kennedy of Budden & Associates. Meehan said that the judgment is “fresh affirmation that what happens on one’s watch — even 70 years ago — can still be a basis for vicarious liability.”

Read the full Canadian Press article here.

Update: On January 14, 2021 The Supreme Court of Canada refused to grant the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corp. of St. John’s leave to appeal, upholding the above ruling by The Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador. Read the decision here.