MONTREAL - A dark chapter in local health care history is finally being resolved, as a grievance filed against the St. Charles Borromee nursing home, filed in 1999, has been settled out of court for $7 million.

The settlement, signed Wednesday, will see $7 million distributed among the victims, who will receive roughly $2,500 per year spent at the facility.

Another $250,000 goes to the Gisele Allard Foundation, which is dedicated to patient well being. Another $250,000 goes to the Helene Rumak Foundation, dedicated to patients’ rights.

Another half a million dollars will be evently divided between administrative and legal fees. Any money left over from those costs will be funneled into the $7 million patients’ fund.

The class action lawsuit was launched in 1999 by Gisele Allard and Handicap-Vie-Dignite against the facility, which sits on Rene-Levesque just east of the Main, now known as the CHSLD Centre-Ville de Montreal and administered by the CSSS Jeanne-Mance.

The $2,500 per year total might still be raised or lowered depending on the number of people who are deemed eligible, to fit the total compensation of $7 million.

Only patients who spent a minimum of 15 days at the facility between January 1, 1995 and March 3, 2006 – or their heirs - may apply within the next four months by consulting

Their heirs would be eligible for about one-third the amount of an actual victim.

Neglect spotted in 1993

The neglect and abuse was initially detected by Helene Rumak and Johanne Ravenda who founded the Lise T. Foundation in 1991 to help protect the rights of the handicapped.

They focused their attention on the long-term health facility after a patient named Christine Grignet, 35, who was afflicted with Huntington’s chorea, withered away and died in the facility.

The Quebec Coroner initially ignored their complaints and the Quebec Curator denounced the two women for sharing what they said was confidential information concerning the woman’s medical situation.

But similar examples were compiled and the lawsuit was laid in 1999.

In 2003, a series of secret recordings detailed many further cases of neglect and abuse.

A few months later, hospital director Leon Lafleur, 56, committed suicide.

Liberal health minister Philippe Couillard then called a provincial inquiry to study the situation.