Bajans lose second time
Former Manulife policyholders in Barbados who sued the Canadian company for more than $150 million in damages, are grappling with their second big court defeat.
In a 68-page decision delivered by a three-member appellate panel, the court asserted that unlike the money it had to pay out when it sold stock in a Canadian company called Aetna Life Insurance Company, Manulife did not owe the Barbadians a cent.
But immediately after the Court of Appeal for Ontario ruled yesterday that the 8 000 Bajans did not deserve the big payday they have been fighting for, their lead attorney signalled the battle for compensation would now be taken to the Supreme Court of Canada.
Justice Eileen Gillese, in a unanimous written judgement, said: “In my view the trial judge erred by holding Manulife to an unreasonable measure, when determining whether it was in breach of the applicable standard of care. Further, as Manulife submitted, even if the standard of care had required that it give an undertaking similar to the one that it gave in the Aetna transaction, the [Barbados] class members still would have received no benefits on the demutualisation.”
Canadian Queens Counsel Harvey Strosberg, the lead attorney for the former policyholders, was disappointed with yesterday’s outcome, but vowed to continue the legal battle on the Barbadians’ behalf.