Sunday, September 11, 2016

Motherisk: Ontario: The Hospital for Sick Children and, Dr. Gideon Koren, the director of its former Motherisk laboratory square off in court, The Toronto Star's Jacques Gallant reports. (Legal wranglings amongst the defendants in a tragic tale of flawed DNA match hair-testing; HL) .."In its statement of defence, the hospital said it did not owe a duty of care to the proposed representative plaintiff, as it was providing expert assistance to the Catholic Children’s Aid Society by carrying out the hair test."

STORY: "Sick Kids Hospital, Motherisk director, point fingers at each other in class action lawsuit," by reporter Jacques Gallant, published by The Toronto Star on  September 11, 2016.

SUB: HEADING:  "Statements of defence from both deny blame over faulty hair tests used in court to remove children from their parents."

PHOTO CAPTION: " Dr. Michael Apkon is president and CEO of the Hospital for Sick Children. The hospital is battling the former director of its Motherisk lab in court."

GIST:  "The Hospital for Sick Children and the director of its former Motherisk laboratory are now battling each other in court. The two sides have issued cross-claims against each other as part of their statements of defence filed in a proposed class action lawsuit. The lawsuit was launched by parents who claim they lost their children because of faulty drug and alcohol hair tests carried out by Motherisk. Both parties deny the allegations made against them by the proposed class of plaintiffs. The allegations have not been proven in court. But should former director Dr. Gideon Koren be found liable by the court and ordered to pay the plaintiffs damages, he wants Sick Kids and Motherisk manager Joey Gareri to indemnify him. Sick Kids and Gareri are asking Koren to do the same, should they be found liable. Law firm Koskie Minsky, which is representing the plaintiffs, declined to comment, as did a Sick Kids spokeswoman. Koren’s lawyer did not return a request for comment. Launched earlier this year, the proposed class action is among several lawsuits involving Motherisk moving through the courts in Ontario and Nova Scotia. Dr. Michael Apkon, the hospital’s CEO, said in a statement in January that, in some cases, “we may need to participate in compensating impacted families.” Koren, who according to the hospital retired in June 2015, has never spoken publicly about the controversy surrounding Motherisk. His statement of defence offers a glimpse into his thoughts on the lab since the Star began an investigation into its practices in 2014. He rejects the findings of an independent review led by retired Court of Appeal Justice Susan Lang last year, which harshly criticized hair testing procedures at Motherisk. “The hair testing methodologies employed by (Motherisk) were, at all material times, accurate and reliable for their intended purpose. The results and interpretations of hair testing results provided by Dr. Koren were similarly accurate and reliable for their intended purpose,” says Koren’s statement of defence, filed in Superior Court in Toronto. “Dr. Koren specifically denies the findings of the Independent Review of the Honourable Susan Lang referred to at paragraph 127 of the statement of claim and states that these findings cannot be relied upon and are inadmissible in this proceeding,” the statement continues, referring to Lang’s finding that Motherisk hair test results were inadequate and unreliable. He is asking the court to dismiss Sick Kids’ and Gareri’s cross-claim, with costs. The independent review was sparked by a Star investigation that found that before 2010, Motherisk did not use what is considered the “gold standard” hair test. The tests, often requested by children’s aid societies, were used in thousands of child protection cases across the country. After having first defended the lab, Sick Kids permanently discontinued hair testing at Motherisk last year, and Apkon apologized to families who may have been affected. The provincial government launched the Motherisk Commission earlier this year in the wake of the damning independent review. The commission’s two-year mandate includes reviewing Ontario cases from between 1990 and 2015 where Motherisk may have been involved. In its statement of defence, the hospital said it did not owe a duty of care to the proposed representative plaintiff, as it was providing expert assistance to the Catholic Children’s Aid Society by carrying out the hair test."..."The hospital defendants advised the CCAS that the results of the plaintiff’s hair tests ought to be interpreted in conjunction with other evidence and ought not to be relied upon as a sole or predominant indicator of best interests of the plaintiff’s child(ren),” says the statement. “In summary, at all times the hospital defendants acted responsibly and in accordance with the appropriate standard of care owed to the CCAS regarding the plaintiff’s hair specimens.”

The entire story can be found at:

PUBLISHER'S NOTE:  I am monitoring this case. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments. The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at: Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:  Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to:  
Harold Levy. Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.