Supreme Court rules family of murder victim can sue city of Montreal for negligence
Published Friday, October 13, 2017 11:20AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, October 13, 2017 7:34PM EDT
The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that the family of a murder victim can sue the city of Montreal for negligence.
The judgment comes seven years after Maria Altagracia Dorval, 28, was killed by her estranged husband.
Dorval's family launched the lawsuit contending that the Montreal police force erred when Dorval called 9-1-1 to report that her ex-husband had been threatening her.
Police never dispatched an officer to investigate, even though she had a restraining order against Edens Kenol. One week later Kenol stabbed and killed Dorval.
He was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.
Quebec's Police Ethics Committee investigated the murder, and in 2015 absolved the five officers involved of any wrongdoing.
In 2013 Dorval's sister, father, and stepmother then launched a $665,000 lawsuit against the City of Montreal, arguing that police were negligent, however the City of Montreal argued that the statute of limitations for a "moral damages" case expired after six months.
Quebec's Court of Appeal said in 2015 that the court case should proceed, ruling that the case involved not just moral damages but also physical injury.
"In the words of art. 2930 C.C.Q., the family members’ action was indeed “based on the obligation to make reparation for bodily injury caused to another," states the ruling.
The City of Montreal appealed to the Supreme Court, and it has now agreed with the Court of Appeal.
The Dorval family is seeking $655,000 from the city of Montreal.