October 31, 2006 18:06 ET

Beauport Class Action: St. Lawrence Cement Acknowledges Court of Appeal Decision

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(CCNMatthews - Oct. 31, 2006) - St. Lawrence Cement acknowledges with reservations the decision rendered today by the Quebec Court of Appeal which partially upheld its challenge of the May 2003 Superior Court judgment in the class action filed by residents and property owners of Beauport, Quebec. The plaintiffs alleged having suffered undue inconveniences and loss of property value from the operations of the St. Lawrence Cement plant in this municipality from 1991 to 1997.

The Company is pleased that the Court of Appeal has granted its appeal in part and that it has reversed the legal foundation for the judgment of the Superior Court, namely that there would exist under Quebec civil law a no fault regime of liability for the inconveniences caused to neighbors.

However, since the Company was using state-of-the art pollution control equipment and consistently complied with regulatory emission standards, the Company deplores the ruling of the Court of Appeal that, under the particular circumstances of the case, one should infer from the reported dust fallouts, that the Company's equipment was probably not maintained in optimal operating conditions at all times. According to the judgment, this would constitute a fault which would make the Company responsible for the inconveniences of its neighbors.

Regarding compensation to the plaintiffs, the Court of Appeal has reduced by at least 20% the sums awarded by the Superior Court as it did not find any fault by the Company in respect to noise complaints, and that the Company could not be liable for some of the dust fallouts.

Subject to a closer reading of the judgment, St. Lawrence Cement will decide whether or not it intends to seek leave to appeal the judgment before the Supreme Court.

St. Lawrence Cement Group is a leading producer and supplier of products and services for the construction industry, namely cement, concrete, aggregates and construction. The company operates in Canada and on the eastern seaboard of the United States, and employs a total of 3,200 people.

Contact Information

  • St. Lawrence Cement Group Inc.
    Nicole Jarry
    Director, Corporate Communications
    514-340-1555, ext. 206