Moose-collision class action OK'd by N.L. judge

A class-action lawsuit launched by victims of moose-vehicle accidents against the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador has been cleared to proceed.

Justice Richard LeBlanc certified the suit Tuesday at the Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court in St. John's.

St. John's-based lawyer Ches Crosbie filed the suit in January. It claims the provincial government's failure to control the moose population is to blame for the more than 700 moose-vehicle collisions reported annually.

Moose are not native to the island of Newfoundland.

"Wildlife practices of the defendant have allowed the moose population on the Island to reach numbers in the range of 120,000 to 200,000 …multiplying the danger of moose collisions for users of the highways," said a statement of claim filed in January.

Hugh George, 59, and Ben Bellows, 54, are named as representative claimants in the statement of claim. Both men now use wheelchairs because of injuries they suffered in collision with moose on Newfoundland's roads.

The suit is seeking compensation for victims, moose fencing, a cull of the herd and other measures to reduce collisions.

The provincial government did not contest certification at hearings leading up to LeBlanc's decision.

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