Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

February 13, 2013 15:23 ET

Statement by the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 13, 2013) -

"Our Government has enormous respect for the men and women who have sacrificed in service of their country. Government officials have concluded discussions with the class' legal team to come to an agreement in principle in the class action of Dennis Manuge v. Her Majesty the Queen regarding the offset of Pension Act disability benefits from the Service Income Security Insurance LTD Plan (SISIP). The current estimated value of the settlement is approximately $887.8 million.

Obviously, in settling the case, we expect that as much of that settlement as possible reaches its intended beneficiaries, the veterans themselves. The Crown informed the judge that the Government of Canada will oppose the amount of legal fees ($66.6M) being sought by class members as excessive and unreasonable. Class counsel are entitled to recover reasonable legal fees for their work; however, the legal fees sought, which equates to a top hourly rate of $13,487.50, are so far beyond what can be characterized as reasonable as to be grossly excessive.

The Crown has filed submissions oppose the amount of legal fees that are being sought by class counsel on the basis that they are excessive. The issue of legal fees for class counsel was not part of the settlement agreement and will be decided separately by the Court. Our government continues to reflect and improve upon its programs dedicated to supporting Canada's ill and injured military personnel and veterans, and to provide the care that our personnel and their families deserve."

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