Lawsuit

Nomi Davis and Jessica Klein have initiated a Class Action Lawsuit against BC Hydro regarding the installation of wireless Smart Meters on their homes and businesses.

BC Smart Meter Lawsuit.CA

DECISION – JULY 12, 2016

http://citizensforsafetechnology.org/Judgment-of-Madam-Justice-Adair,84,4472

http://citizensforsafetechnology.org/CLASS-ACTION-Lawsuit-PACKAGE,2,3617

July 20, 2016: COMMENTS about Judge Adair’s DECISION not to certify the class action.  For now, please do not send in registrations or donations for legal costs.

Nobody has ever said that the challenge of bringing public accountability to BC Hydro would be easy, but significant and encouraging steps have been realized despite the court’s refusal of the application for class action certification of a civil lawsuit against BC Hydro.

Of greatest importance is that the foundational argument of the case survived the attack by BC Hydro, and the court found merit and plausibility in the success of a cause of action which embodied the Charter of Rights, Section 7 Liberty Interest. In short, the court recognized that the right to be free from government interference regarding choices of a fundamental and personal nature within one’s home was a valid argument. Now that’s a success that we would not have achieved without this class action application.

The court’s recognition of the Section 7 Liberty Interest as it relates to forced smart meter application and unacceptable microwave radiation emissions exposure therefrom is a major development and a big step up the stairway to success.

Where this court application for class action certification failed is in the identification of a common class. There are several main reasons which cause concern over smart meter installation – health damage, health concerns, fire risk, security & surveillance and billing concerns account for the majority of varied reasons which could give rise to a resident refusing a smart meter. Given that the court was analyzing the viability of the class action procedures, not the merits of the case, it is clear that the next action would be one where the class of persons would need to be narrowed so that there was a common issue within the group.

Since the court has affirmed the viability of a Section 7 Liberty Interest cause of action, now is the time to analyze how to use this valuable court decision as a relevant legal landmark upon which a refined case can be brought against BC Hydro.

It is also important to note that the decision did not assert that the microwave radiation emissions from smart meters is safe, and since the Notice of Civil Claim against BC Hydro was filed in 2013, recent credible science is reporting the possibility of devastating ill health effects from wireless exposure. Unfortunately, scientific articles which would have further supported health concerns were released after the court had closed submissions. Check out the US National Toxicology Program science article on brain and heart cancers from two years intermittent “cell phone” exposure. (http://biorxiv.org/content/early/2016/05/26/055699)

BC Hydro asserts that the Clean Energy Act allows them to act with impunity even though its actions and the roll out of the smart meter program violates our fundamental principles of a democratic society. We know that the Charter protection afforded to every individual in BC is activated when members of the public are being subjected to undemocratic and oppressive tactics of a governmental agency, and BC Hydro is not excluded from the responsibility to abide by the Charter of Rights. While we disagree with certain statements made in the court decision, we are thankful for the recognition of the validity of the Charter Section 7 Liberty Interest argument, and now continue to seek redress as we move ahead.

This decision has opened the way for individual civil claims against BC Hydro under the Charter Section 7 Liberty Interest. There can be as many individual claims as people feel their rights have been frustrated. Any customer of BC Hydro who is interested in pursuing civil action against BC Hydro is encouraged to take this Supreme Court Decision to a lawyer versed in constitutional law for an opinion on the merits of their individual situation. We would like to hear from anyone who receives legal advice affirming their case against BC Hydro under Section 7 of the Charter.

     CitizensForSafeTechnology

Una St. Clair                              Sharon Noble
Executive Director,             Director,
Citizens for                               Coalition to
Safe Technology                    Stop Smart Meters

                       CSSMBC

____________________________________________________________________

1 – See the current Amended Notice of CIVIL CLAIM that has been registered  with the Supreme Court of BC  2014-02-07.

2 -See the Notice of Application 2014-09-14

3 – Status of the Class Action Lawsuit – 2014-11-12

 4 – Visit the Official Class Action Lawsuit web site

5 -Class Action Update – Apr 7, 2015

6 – Lawsuit against BCHydro 2015 DEC 7 – 11

7 – A summary of the proceedings of Day 1, Monday, Dec. 7, 2015, in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver, in Davis vs B.C. Hydro.  (by Greg McIntyre)

Citizens For Safe Technology and Stop Smart Meters BC had a turnout that was too large for the fifth-floor B.C. Supreme Court room at 800 Smithe St., so at the first recess, some of the people who had seats gave them up to those who had been out in the hall, so that everyone could be in the court room for at least some of the proceedings on Day 1.

It’s important to understand that this five-day court case is not to argue for a more just smart meter opt-out program or even for an end to the penalty for keeping your old analog electricity meter.

It’s a five-day hearing to apply for the certificate that’s required to launch a class action lawsuit against the way BC Hydro has gone about its program to install a smart meter on every home and office in the province.

CST-Stop Smart Meters lawyer David Aaron was asked outside the courtroom, if he is successful in winning approval to go ahead with the class action lawsuit, might it take a while to get into court. He said, yes, “or Hydro could settle”.

At the end of the day Monday, Aaron told Madame Justice Elaine Adair that he and Hydro’s lawyers, Marko Vesely and Toby Kruger, have agreed to split the allotted five court days into two-and-a-half days each.

8 – A short summary of the proceedings of Day 2, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015, in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver, in Davis vs BC Hydro. (by Greg McIntyre)

It might be impossible to prove in court that the electromagnetic radiation from BC Hydro’s “smart meters” is causing health problems.

But the public interest groups Citizens For Safe Technology and the B.C. Coalition To Stop Smart Meters say there is enough controversy in scientific papers and media reports about their safety that thousands of customers have refused to give Hydro permission to install the radio-frequency emitting devices on their homes and offices.

Yet Hydro has gone ahead against their wishes and installed the meters anyway, with the threat of cutting off the power if they refuse or imposing a $35 a month penalty for keeping their old analog meters.

CST and Stop Smart Meters are in B.C. Supreme Court this week seeking permission to launch a class action lawsuit for the constitutional right of Hydro customers to refuse the wireless meter and to recover damages.

David Aaron, lawyer for the two groups, said if the case is allowed, it won’t allege harm, but instead will prove that Hydro’s tactics have violated a person’s reasonable constitutional right to make the choice to keep their home safe from possible risk.

The electrical meters send out “bursts of emissions every 68 seconds at a minimum … you’re living with them day in and day out … every day of the year,” he said.

Smart meter radiation is similar to that from cellphones, and while more research is needed to know whether it’s harmful, it has been proven to have biological effects.

9 – A short summary of the proceedings of Day 3, Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015, in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver, in Davis vs BC Hydro. (by Greg McIntyre)

BC Hydro smart meter opponents concluded three days of arguments Wednesday.

The final days of their hearing in B.C. Supreme Court, Thursday and Friday, will be given over to Hydro to defend its wireless electrical meters.

Madame Justice Elaine Adair will then have to sift through all the debate and decide whether the plaintiffs have a compelling enough case for a class-action lawsuit.

If they get to trial, David Aaron, the lawyer for the plaintiffs, said they’ll seek an order compelling Hydro to offer all its customers the choice to refuse the controversial meter.

And they want Hydro to return the $32.40  a month penalty customers have been charged for keeping their old mechanical meters, plus any other associated damages.

Wednesday was spent clarifying what Aaron called “the principles of fundamental justice” that would protect a person’s right to avoid a possible cancer-causing device in their home or place of work.

Judge Adair worked with him to sharpen the details and definitions of “common issues” and “classes” in his argument so they can be spelled out clearly in the certificate needed to proceed to trial.

10 – A short summary of the proceedings of Day 4, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver, in Davis vs BC Hydro. (by Greg McIntyre)

BC Hydro threw up some obstacles Thursday in the way of its smart meter opponents.

The Canadian Charter Of Rights And Freedoms says: “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.”

Plaintiffs at a hearing in B.C. Supreme Court say that Section 7 of the charter gives them the “liberty” to refuse the possible cancer-causing radiation from Hydro’s wireless electrical meter.

But Hydro’s lawyer, Marko Vesely, said the freedom to refuse a smart meter would only amount to a “lifestyle choice”.  To claim protection under the charter, you’d have to show physical or psychological harm and that claim would come under “security of the person”.

Madame Justice Elaine Adair will have to sort out whether liberty or security is involved when someone refuses a smart meter, as she decides whether to certify the opponents’ plans for an anti-smart meter class-action lawsuit.

David Aaron, the lawyer for Hydro’s opponents, has said it would be next to impossible to prove harm in court. The class-action lawsuit, instead, must depend on showing the reasonableness of the fundamental right to protect yourself from a possible source of harm.

Hydro’s lawyer also attacked his opponents’ claim for repayment of the $35 a month plus related penalties charged to customers who have refused to accept a smart meter.  Hydro is authorized to install the meters, Vesely said. But if a new law changes that, it would not be right to retroactively make those fees illegal. They were paid for the extra resources provided by Hydro to service those anti-smart meter customers.

11 – A summary of the proceedings of Friday, Dec. 11, 2015, the final day of a hearing in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver, in Davis vs BC Hydro. (by Greg McIntyre)

Thank you for your submissions. I’m reserving judgment.”

With that, Madame Justice Elaine Adair left the courtroom in downtown Vancouver on Friday to begin her deliberations on whether to allow a class-action lawsuit against BC Hydro smart meters.

Tens of thousands, perhaps one hundred thousand or more, of Hydro’s 1.9 million customers have objected to having the wireless electrical meters installed on their homes or offices or having to pay the $35 a month penalty that Hydro has collected because they’re keeping their old analog meter.

Their objections are the basis for the class-action lawsuit, which will allege that:

— they’ve lost their charter right of personal choice and the autonomy to refuse the meter

— there was no democratic process, debate in the provincial legislature or oversight by the BC Utilities Commission in granting Hydro the authority to install the meters

electricity is a basic necessity of life and they have little or no option but to submit to Hydro’s terms

— and in a news release in July 2013 announcing Hydro’s “Meter Choices Program”,  Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett said, “nobody will be forced to take a smart meter” and yet 96 percent of the utility company’s customers have not been offered the choice of an opt-out.

In addition to the plaintiffs who started the litigation, six “representative plaintiffs” have filed personal affidavits detailing the various situations forced on them by Hydro.

Most are people who are trying to keep their homes free of wireless radiation, but one is a doctor suffering electro-hypersensitivity who tried to prevent a meter being installed at his office, and another is the principal of a school who tried to shield her students from radiation from the meter.

They’re waiting now to see if their concerns will get to trial.

28 thoughts on “Lawsuit”

  1. How may I join the class action suit?
    Where can I find info on the results of not paying the extra cost for keeping my old meter?
    Has BC Hydro cut off the power of anyone not paying the extra cost?

    1. I think that there is a website dedicated exclusively to the class action lawsuit, there is either a link on here or on the Citizens for Safe Technology site explaining this.
      With regards to not paying the monthly fee and what may happen I cannot answer that. As far as I know nobody has said anything about their power being cut for not paying the fee. I would assume that if you did not pay it they would just add up the unpaid charges and add that to the bill like they would if you were behind in paying the rest of your bill. Eventually they could cut you off, whether they would or not is another story.

      1. I have been without electricity since Oct 2014 because I did not pay the $32.40 plus taxes per month and I am still holding on. Lots more to this story naturally and the electrical consumers of BC are all adults over the age of 18 years so they can ascertain what is going on but what are they going to do about it is up to individuals acting as a collective. All the best.

        1. How are you making out without electricity? Do you have a generator, wood stove, solar panels? I admire your determination and would love to hear more about your story so I could share with others. Many are continuing to pay the extortion, and I am hoping to fight to get these things recalled and all fees refunded. They never should have been allowed to be on our homes.
          I hope you will tell me more. Please email me at director@stopsmartmetersbc.com.

          Sharon

    2. I am sorry but it seems that no one answered your question. I do apologize.
      You can join the lawsuit very simply. I would suggest you go to http://www.bcsmartmeterlawsuit.ca and read the lawsuit so you know what you would be joining. There is a link there to the form you will have to sign and mail in.
      Anyone who is upset about having their smart meter, or wishing to keep their analog can join. We hope you will join. This is an action to demand respect for our civil rights as guaranteed by the Charter for Rights and Freedom.

      Sharon Noble
      Director, Coalition to Stop Smart Meters

    3. Yes, they disconnected me on November 19th, 2014 at a daytime high of – 2 c, over $289.95 of unpaid extortion fees.

      I have paid for all the electricity I used.

      1. I am sorry to hear about the abuse you are receiving from BC Hydro. My neighbour an elderly veteran was disconnected on or about Nov 21, 2014 he refused to pay the extortion fee also. The foundation I volunteer with filed a suit in small claims just days before the disconnection, well I go to the settlement conference on Thursday July 23, 2014, if you wish I will add your name to my clients list. I am not a lawyer I just “love bullies and I can eat a whole one” lets unite and teach BC Hydro a lesson
        If you are interested call me 250 269 7570, I am on dial up for internet so if the line is busy try mrdoll@telus.net

  2. Copyright Act?
    There is an Alberta farmer who makes a claim that he has created art on his land. Being a work of Art, he successfully argued that oil pipelines need to ask him permission in order not to infringe on his legal rights – and he charges them an hourly fee to carry on discussions.
    I am living my life as a work of Art. Data generated by my actions belong to me. I claim the exclusive right to share or withhold them with others. My personal data, derived from Smart Meters is mine, as part of the Art work of my life. I have not given permission for anyone to use it, including BC Hydro.

    1. Hi how has this worked for you? I am retired and have a copyright for my art work and graphics from 1989 with a different name. (maiden) Also have another copyright and trade mark as of oct.2014. Since my retirement I have been trying to get into painting and have been so stressed out. I’m paying extortion fees which leaves little left for new canvasses. With these murder meters all around me, they make me tired all the time.

  3. Hi,

    Sorry if I missed it elsewhere but is there an update regarding the lawsuit? IIRC it was to be underway by now. No?

  4. We run our own historic micro hydro system for 19 years with a private 750 ft span to the grid, billed a few dollars connection fee per month . Since I was talked/forced into installing this evil meter we face not only huge bills but also inexplicable incidents with the power system, injuries within 10 m, strange animal behaviors, computer and phone systems problems (Telus has no clue), dying trees, not functioning what functions for 2 decades, batteries discharged near the meter, etc. etc. and a nearly $ 3,000 bill. Who can help us?

  5. Any update on the class action? Are court proceedings even happening? Seems there is no information for a very long time.

    Please, an update as to the status would be appreciated.

    Thanks.

    P.S. I asked to be put on the mailing list long ago but have yet to receive any response.

    1. Hi Saner
      Sharon will publish a status note on the Class action soon. (I think)

      And I will add you to my list of Smart Meter Update Newsletters. Anyone else wanting to get on the list then just send an email to ted@stopsmartmetersbc.com with a subject line saying “PLEASE SEND SMART METER UPDATE NEWSLETTERS”.
      Cheers

        1. Hmmmm.

          Can anyone even confirm there is any progress regarding the lawsuit? The lack of updates is disturbing. Several folks I know have thrown in the towel and got a smart meter as they have lost both interest and hope due to lack of progress and information.

          Please, what is happening?

  6. When Fortis disconnects electrical service for not making a decision to accept a change in service which is less then the original is an unreasonable course of action and places an unreasonable burden on the individual. The unreasonable burden comes from the reconnection fees, radio off fees and other fees as set out in a tariff under the BCUC. This places an unreasonable burden on low income individuals who lack funds to pay the fees imposed under the BCUC. The responsibility of the State to take legislative, judicial, administrative or other appropriate measures to promote the understanding by all persons under its jurisdiction of their civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights is insufficient in ensuring individuals are reasonably competent of their civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights and places a unreasonable burden on the individual by the State. The measures taken by the State from the Government Expenditure Plan and Main Estimates under Human Rights Knowledge Development and Dissemination Program.

    The Clean Energy Act may be interpreted as implying any State, group or person has right to engage in any activity or perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms recognized.

    All peoples may, for their own ends, freely dispose of their natural wealth and resources without prejudice to any obligations arising out of international economic co-operation, based upon the principle of mutual benefit, and international law. In no case may a people be deprived of its own means of subsistence, further Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

    1. The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to education. They agree that education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and the sense of its dignity, and shall strengthen the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. They further agree that education shall enable all persons to participate effectively in a free society, promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations and all racial, ethnic or religious groups, and further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.

    2. The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize that, with a view to achieving the full realization of this right:

    (a) Primary education shall be compulsory and available free to all;

    (b) Secondary education in its different forms, including technical and vocational secondary education, shall be made generally available and accessible to all by every appropriate means, and in particular by the progressive introduction of free education;

    (c) Higher education shall be made equally accessible to all, on the basis of capacity, by every appropriate means, and in particular by the progressive introduction of free education;

    (d) Fundamental education shall be encouraged or intensified as far as possible for those persons who have not received or completed the whole period of their primary education;

  7. I received a letter stating that if they did not get access to my property they would have the right to divinely me. I phoned the 1-800 number and during that phone call told me because a new account was started last year after 2013 they had the right to put in a smart metre. The only reason there is a new name and it’s mine is because my x of 24 years left me for my friend. So one of the occupants at this resident didn’t change just the name on the account. Is there anything I can do to stop this. On the phone I refused the installation and they said I would be charged 65$ and if this continues they would cut me off. I am a fifty year old woman trying to survive and hold onto my land. Is there anything that o can do to stop them? I live in British Columbia. Please anyone?

    1. At this point we have no rights. I have begged them to change my meter to a radio off meter because I suffer from EHS and MCS since surviving Lyme Disease. Even with this diagnosis they still will not change my meter. Even when we moved it off the house on to a pole they said no after the renovation dept with BC Hydro promised I could have a radio off. They lied and we spent $7,000 to have this done to no avail. I moved on to 5 acres with no WiFi signals and I still hear a humming sound in my home that only disappears when there is a power outage. I am still going to call the higher ups with BC Hydro the Advocacy Dept refused to help me and claims it is not the meters …that is all they ever say is that it is not the smart meters. I believed they are all uniformed and completely clued out when it comes to EHS and MCS. What a world….. to boot I have just recovered from a genetic cancer. So again this does not even matter to BC Hydro. We should be the first on the list to receive radio off meters or the old analog meters. We have no rights , not even when it comes down to our health. If I could afford to move again I would and off grid for good !

  8. Four months and still nothing?

    Madame Justice Elaine Adair apparently is following her instructions from the Government to delay as long as possible. This is beyond a joke.

    What possible other reason could there be for such a ridiculous delay? Even if she does find the motivation to get around to a decision, can we even expect a trial in our lifetimes?

    This is just corrupt and willful delaying. There is no justice….

    1. Apparently, sadly, this sort of timing in not unusual for class actions. I can’t explain it, but this is what the lawyer said. And if it is certified, then the long slog for the trial. I think it is vital that this be fought in court because it will set a precedent if we don’t — one which allows our Charter Rights to be infringed upon with impunity. Next time Hydro, Fortis, or this government decides to something else which infringes will be even easier. Our right to protect our families, our home and ourselves is too important to relinquish.
      There are many reasons that we should be fighting in addition to the Class Action, and one if the fire hazard that exists. These things do cause fires and there is substantial evidence from BC and elsewhere. These meters are defective and should be recalled, nothing short of removal is adequate. This could be done now, without delay, without the class action. We just need many people to stand up to the MLAs who are doing nothing, to this premier and energy minister who are allowing/encouraging for their own agendas — and we all must say we will not take this. We demand a recall. Start picketing, rallying, protesting, etc.

  9. BC hydro and Christy Clark have gone mad with power! I want that stupid smart metre removed from my homeshare asap. They started fining my homeshare provider, then deployed the stupid metre without consent. Christy is delaying the judge by bribery, no doubt. I am about to file a complaint to the United Nations about this human rights violation and I suggest you all do the same.

  10. They are trying to tell us that the new legacy meter has no radio transmitter!. Well, who are they trying to fool? The old analogs have never been a problem with age!. Why even bother replacing it with just another analog?, Is this just another analog or something hidden in the back they can flick a switch and have the ‘radio on’! I Have major concerns with my existing power surges (with fire issues) and feel the need to contact a lawyer to draw up a form that BC Hydro must sign in order to ensure that my house will not burn down with this exchange! What are your thoughts Ms.Noble?

  11. In light of the current loss of this case, maybe you should have went after the utilities act and the utility commission.. That mandate was drawn up before the charter of rights. And I would suggest that the utility act and the utility commision is not charter of rights friendly..

    1. Over the last 3-4 years we’ve learned a lot. We started our class action early on, before we knew all of the problems and all of the parties who were ignoring our rights. Our Charter Right to decide what we allow the government to put on our home (to refuse if we have reason to believe it is dangerous) is so important and the judge agreed that this is justified. We need to continue to fight to save our homes which are endangered not only by the radiation emitted by the $$meters but also by fires, hacking, etc. The Utilities Commission (BCUC) has responsibility for ensuring that the devices Hydro uses do not endanger us. For the longest time, years, they refused to acknowledge this, hiding behind the Clean Energy Act. But finally, in the draft response to my formal complaint with evidence that ITRON meters have caused fires and endangered lives, they admit they have this responsibility. We need to hold them to this — and perhaps we will have to take them (the individual directors) to court.

  12. There was absolutely no public consultation on these smart meters: that in-and-of-itself is not constitutional and violates our individual charter of rights, in my opinion. I never heard this humming noise before; it started after the installation of a smart meter. The Canadian Government does not advocate or care about our individual charter of rights(unlike in the US where children are taught their charter of rights in school, but not in Canada).

  13. I had three signs on my property refusing smart meter, they came and put a radio off meter with out us knowing ,I don’t
    know what to do.When I phoned they said my old meter had expired so there was no other option and that the radio off meter was not a smart meter and it was legal to come on our property and do this. They also said it is turned of and they still have to come out and read it.Please tell me what I can do.

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