N.B. convoy donor named as defendant in proposed class action lawsuit
A New Brunswick business owner who was one of the largest financial donors to the Freedom Convoy has been named as a defendant in a class action lawsuit against the convoy organizers.
Brad Howland, who lives in Kars, N.B., and owns Easy Kleen Pressure Systems Ltd. based in Sussex Corner, donated $75,000 to the Freedom Convoy that paralyzed downtown Ottawa last winter.
The class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of downtown Ottawa residents, businesses and employees who say the convoy disrupted their lives.
James Manson, a lawyer for Howland and other potential defendants, argued against the motion to add Howland at a hearing in January.
In his motion, he argued that it's unreasonable to try to sue "thousands of random people around the world who merely donated money to a political cause."
Ontario regional senior justice Calum MacLeod, in his decision dated March 13, allowed the addition of the new defendants, as well as the plaintiff's motion to expand the "occupation zone", the geographic area encompassing the plaintiff cases.
"Extension of such liability to those who continued to donate funds once the nature of the activity in Ottawa became apparent may be novel but it is not impossible of success," MacLeod wrote in the decision.
MacLeod also wrote that whether or not liability could be extended to a class of donors was not an analysis that should be done at the pleading stage.
Paul Champ, the lawyer behind the proposed class action suit, confirmed by email that the amended claim was served on Howland's legal counsel on March 14.
Neither Howland nor his lawyer responded when asked for comment on these filings.
Champ told CBC Ottawa that his team will be ready to argue for certification in the case by the end of the year.
The proposed suit is seeking a total of $290 million in general, special and punitive damages from all of the defendants, which include several high-profile leaders of the movement.