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People stranded during Montreal snowstorm file lawsuit

Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Tuesday, November 14, 2017, 7:14 PM - A Quebec Superior Court judge is allowing a class-action lawsuit involving 300 people who were stranded in their cars overnight during a snowstorm last March to proceed.

A powerful storm and two disabled tractor-trailers left motorists stranded in chilly temperatures on Montreal's Highway 13 near the Hickmore Street exit for up to 12 hours.

Lt. Jason Allard of the Sûreté du Québec, the province's transport ministry, told the CBC police received a call on March 14 at 6:08 p.m. about a collision involving a tractor-trailer on Highway 13.

Firefighters didn't arrive at the scene until the following morning at 4:30 a.m., more than 12 hours after the accident occurred.

The plaintiffs are seeking $2,500 for each person stuck, plus compensation for any vehicle damage and towing fees. People stranded on the highway between 7 p.m. March 14 and 12:00 p.m. March 15 are eligible to participate.

Quebec's Transport Ministry, the City of Montreal and the province's automobile insurance board, the SAAQ, are the named defendants.

An investigation following the incident determined that "serious organizational shortcomings" and communication issues between traffic officials led to the massive delay.

Transport Minister Luc Fortin told reporters Tuesday that Quebec has taken steps to prevent similar incidents from occurring, including adding additional support staff and snow-clearing teams during major storms.

All government-contracted vehicles will now be equipped with GPS tracking, so officials know how many trucks are on the road and when they were last plowed.

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