For immediate release Thursday, April 25, 2013
Judge’s ruling on Fairview Wind Project mischaracterized.
Justice Healey “the plaintiffs are unable to prove that they have been wronged”
A ruling by Justice Healey of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, in a pre-trial motion brought forward by wpd in the legal proceedings against the Fairview Wind Project, unequivocally dismissed the plaintiffs’ case as they could not establish a legal basis for their claims.
The plaintiffs in the case ( Wiggins v. wpd Canada Corporation) launched the lawsuit in November 2011, claiming $16 million property value damages from wpd Canada and two participating farmers that are hosting the 8 turbines. The plaintiffs alleged that by publishing a Notice in the local newspaper, wpd Canada and the participating farmers had lowered their property values. The evidence put forward by the plaintiffs was unchallenged by wpd because the case did not proceed past the preliminary stages.
wpd and the participating farmers asked the court to dismiss the action as there was no legal basis for the claims against wpd. Madam Justice Healey agreed with wpd and the participating farmers because the plaintiffs’ lawyer was unable to establish that their claims had any merit.
A press release from the plaintiffs’ lawyer issued on Tuesday mischaracterizes the outcome of the proceedings. It was suggested that the judge ruled that there is property value diminution as a result of wind energy projects. Similar claims were made to the press from the head of the anti-wind lobby in Ontario. “This would seem to be a misinterpretation of the court’s ruling” said Ian MacRae, President of wpd Canada Corporation. Jesse Long, Legal Counsel for wpd Canada states: “The judge simply accepted into the record, as unchallenged, the unproven evidence submitted by the plaintiffs, so that the court could assess whether there could be a legal basis for the claims. This evidence is not proof of the plaintiffs’ claims, and the decision does not suggest this. The case was dismissed by Justice Healey prior to wpd entering or challenging evidence, due to the inability of the plaintiffs to establish any legal basis for their claims to proceed to trial. ” Had the case proceeded to the trial phase, wpd would have challenged the plaintiffs’ evidence.
In her analysis, Madam Justice Healey stated that “…as the evidence exists today the plaintiffs are unable to prove that they have been wronged by the defendants.”
wpd Canada is based in Mississauga and employs a growing number of Canadian professionals active in wind energy project development in Ontario, British Columbia and other Canadian provinces. wpd Canada is a wholly owned subsidiary of wpd Europe, a green energy company active in 20 countries around the globe and Germany’s market leader in wind energy. wpd worldwide employs over 860 professionals and has installed more than 1,500 wind turbines totalling a capacity of over 2.5 GW.
Contact: Kevin R. Surette