“Carriage” Of A Class Action – What Is It?

Recently, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice favoured Klein Lawyers, over competing law firms, awarding Klein Lawyers, “carriage” of Zimmer Durom hip implant class action litigation in Ontario. The Court decided that Klein Lawyers, was the best law firm positioned to advance the interests of people injured by the Zimmer Durom hip implant. The Court was of the opinion that “the relevant and active factors overwhelmingly favour granting carriage” to Klein Lawyers.

Klein Lawyers, represents clients from across Canada who allege they were injured when their Zimmer Durom hip implants failed.

From time to time, the courts are called upon to respond to multiple class actions within a province about the same alleged wrongdoing. Where lawyers representing competing class actions cannot work together, the court is asked to determine “carriage”. That is, which of the competing class actions will be allowed to move forward while the other is stayed. In deciding a carriage motion, the courts look to the best interests of class members while, at the same time, considering what may be fair to the defendants. Carriage motions are the exception, rather than the rule, in class actions. They tend to arise in circumstances where lawyers are unable to cooperate in prosecuting overlapping class actions.

Carriage is effected by entering a “stay” in the competing class action lawsuit(s). A “stay” or “stay of proceedings” is a suspension of proceedings in a lawsuit. In some circumstances, the suspension is permanent. In others, the suspension may remain in place until a specific event has passed or until the court has made an order removing the suspension. Class action legislation in Canada specifically provides courts with the authority to stay any proceeding related to the class action before them.