Bern Coffey also handled lawsuit against Labrador-Grenfell Health, premier says

Bern Coffey also handled lawsuit against Labrador-Grenfell Health, premier says

Premier Dwight Ball has confirmed that Bern Coffey was involved in yet another lawsuit against a provincial government agency while he was employed as clerk of the executive council.

"There was a settlement that occurred," Ball said in response to reporters' questions on Wednesday, adding, "I think it was with Labrador-[Grenfell] Health."

Ball said he has "no idea" about the financial details of the settlement, since it's not part of the public record, unlike the statement of claim, which was filed back in 2013. 

"The majority of the work, most of the work that was done on that file, was done certainly before Mr. Coffey came on as clerk ... It was part of the files that were discussed with the Department of Justice, one that we were aware of," Ball said. 

"I will assure you that Mr. Coffey, any work he would have done, it was not on government's time. I can guarantee you that."

Coffey announced his resignation from the top civil service job Sunday night, and the next day, Ball said Coffey's position had become "untenable." 

But Ball has repeatedly defended the hiring, even after it was revealed that Coffey was involved in two other lawsuits against government agencies – Nalcor and Western Health – while also serving as the top civil servant.

The premier downplayed the significance of the latest revelation about Coffey's legal work.

"When you think about it, if you're looking at a statement of claim that was nearly, what, three years old here, just about all this money would have been earned and paid for prior to him ever being the clerk," he said. 

"It's the only settlement one that I'm aware that had happened, as part of dealing with the work that was outstanding with his clients."