The suits, brought by the father, mother and brother of the late Aylwin and the two daughters of the late Perizzolo claim a total of $11.25 million in damages ($2.25 million per survivor) from a total of five parties including the Ministry of Labour, the City of Elliot Lake, Robert Nazarian, president and treasurer of Eastwood Mall, Eastwood Mall Inc., and M.R. Wright and Associates (the engineering firm that declared mall ‘structurally sound’). It was filed with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.
The roof's collapse is the subject of a provincial inquiry. Perizzolo and Aylwin were standing near a lottery kiosk located within Algo Centre Mall when suddenly and without warning the rooftop parking lot of the mall collapsed, violently coming down on both women and killing them, stated a news release from personal injury lawyers Oatley, Vigmond LLP, acting for the families.
“These deaths are a senseless, needless loss that should never have happened,” said Roger Oatley of Oatley, Vigmond LLP. “What makes these claims unique is the claim for punitive and aggravated damages. This is Canada, not some unregulated Third World country. The building should have been built according to code.
“There were expressions of concern by members of the public. And when the building was inspected after those concerns were expressed, experts re-assured the public it was safe. Effectively we are asking a court to declare that negligence that puts lives at risk is not acceptable in Ontario.”
In the lawsuit, family members are seeking damages, pursuant to provisions of the Family Law Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. F.3, in the amount of $250,000 for loss of care, guidance, and companionship; punitive damages in the amount of $1,000,000; aggravated damages in the amount of $1,000,000; pre-judgment and post-judgment interest in accordance with sections 128 and 129 of the Courts of Justice Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. C.43; their costs of this action on a substantial indemnity basis; and such further relief as this Honourable Court may permit, according to the press release.
In July, Jack and Elaine Quinte, owners of Hungry Jack's Restaurant in the Algo Centre, filed a $30-million class action lawsuit naming the province, the City of Elliot Lake, Nazarian and an “unknown engineer” who allegedly approved the structure of the mall a short time prior to the roof collapse.
That lawsuit is being handled by the law firm of Roy, Elliot, O'Connor (REO), in partnership with lawyer Roland Aube from Elliot Lake, and Jeff Broadbent with the law firm Feifel Broadbent Gualazzi in Sault Ste. Marie.
In their lawsuit, the restaurant owners are claiming negligence on the parts of the defendants led to the death of Aylwin and Perizzolo, as well as the injuries to many others. The defendants, as stated in the lawsuit, knew or ought to have known that the deterioration of the mall's structure posed a serious risk to the health and safety.