BUSINESS

CP Rail to seek leave to appeal ruling tied to Lac-Megantic settlement fund

07/22/2015 03:25 EDT | Updated 07/22/2016 05:59 EDT
MONTREAL - Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. has filed for permission to appeal a judge's ruling in relation to the $430-million settlement fund for victims and creditors of the Lac-Megantic train derailment, according to court documents.

And Jeff Orenstein, a lawyer for victims of the deadly 2013 train disaster, said he has been notified by counsel for Canadian Pacific (TSX:CP) to expect a second appeal.

Permission to appeal must be granted by a judge, but if CP is successful the distribution of the millions in the fund could be suspended by at least several months.

Earlier this month, Quebec Superior Court Justice Gaetan Dumas approved the $430-million settlement package offered to victims and creditors by companies accused of responsibility in the derailment that killed 47 people and destroyed part of downtown Lac-Megantic, Que.

CP is the only company out of roughly 25 accused in the tragedy to not participate in the offer. It maintains it bears no responsibility in the disaster.

The settlement offer is tied to the bankruptcy proceedings in the United States and Canada of Montreal Maine and Atlantic Railway Ltd. (MMA), the now-insolvent railroad company that owned and operated the train that derailed.

In approving the fund, Dumas rejected three CP motions: one seeking access to privileged documents; another to have the fund cancelled; and a third to have the proceedings moved to Federal Court.

Court documents recently filed by CP state the company is asking the court for permission to appeal the ruling barring it access to details of the fund.

Orenstein says CP wants to know the exact amount each company is offering victims.

Moreover, CP has signalled it intends to file a second appeal within several days on one of the two other motions rejected by Dumas, Orenstein said.

"(CP) has not said which (other) motion they will appeal," he told The Canadian Press on Wednesday. "If I had to guess (I'd say) they are definitely contesting the one about the approval (of the fund)."

CP's appeal request states the judge's decision to seal the details of the settlement fund are "inappropriate and unjustified" and not founded in law.

Company spokesman Martin Cej wouldn't comment on Orenstein's claim that CP lawyers are planning on filing a second appeal.

"We have not filed a motion to appeal on any of the other judgments," Cej said in an email.

All sides are expected to appear in Quebec Court of Appeal in Montreal on Sept. 9 to hear CP's motions.