Man successfully sued by Moncton nurse he attacked is ordered to appear in court

Bruce (Randy) Van Horlick owes a nurse manager he assaulted in 2019 more than $1.3 million. (Shane Magee/CBC - image credit)
Bruce (Randy) Van Horlick owes a nurse manager he assaulted in 2019 more than $1.3 million. (Shane Magee/CBC - image credit)

An Acadieville man who owes $1.3 million to a Moncton nurse he assaulted almost four years ago was ordered Monday to appear in court.

Bruce (Randy) Van Horlick, 73, was found guilty in 2020 of assault and sentenced to six months in jail for attacking nurse-manager Natasha Poirier and nurse Teresa Thibeault at the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont Hospital in March 2019.

Poirier successfully sued Van Horlick and was awarded damages of $1.3 million in March 2022.

After walking out of court during a judgment debtor examination in September 2022, Van Horlick did not appear at a hearing Monday to determine whether he was in contempt of court.

Pierre Fournier/CBC
Pierre Fournier/CBC

Outside court, Kelly VanBuskirk, Poirier's lawyer, said it's been a long process for his client.

"In order for justice to be pursued, you have to turn over the rocks and try to get the resolution that your client's entitled to," said VanBuskirk. "So that's what we're doing right now."

VanBuskirk said he's confident they will be able to collect damages on Poirier's behalf but would not speculate as to how much, or how quickly.

"The goal is to have the judgment debtor examination completed and to try to finish this case in some reasonable manner for everyone concerned," he said.


Van Horlick did not contest the allegations Poirier made in her lawsuit. He did not appear in court for the one-day trial on Jan. 10, 2022, or have a lawyer appear on his behalf.

At the time he attacked the nurses on March 11, 2019, Poirier supervised 53 others in a surgical unit. Van Horlick's wife was a patient in the unit.

Evidence presented in the case indicated Poirier required several surgeries following the assault and was left with chronic pain, a brain injury, frequent headaches, sensitivity to light and sounds, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

During the civil trial, she testified the assault upended her life and left her unable to work more than a few hours per week after previously working more than 60 at the hospital and with Veterans Affairs Canada.