Article: Manulife lawsuit certified a class action

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Manulife lawsuit certified a class action

JOHN PARTRIDGE, 02 October 2002

A lawsuit alleging that a key unit of Manulife Financial Corp. wrongly excluded thousands of former policy holders in Barbados from payouts worth about $100-million when the company went public in 1999 has been certified as a class action by an Ontario judge.

In a ruling released Monday, Mr. Justice Ian Nordheimer of the Ontario Superior Court said the case “raises an issue” as to whether Manufacturers Life Insurance Co. “actively misled a regulator” about its plans to demutualize or go public when it won approval to sell its Barbadian business in 1996. The action, launched last December on behalf of four representative plaintiffs by Windsor, Ont., lawyer Harvey Strosberg, also raises questions about “the degree, if any, to which a corporation has a duty to protect individuals who have a financial interest” in it “regarding future plans of the corporation,” Judge Nordheimer said.

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