Legal battle continues on losses from suspicious fish plant fires

Greg Bennett
Published on March 5, 2014

Freezer buildings on the Bull’s Head Wharf Road were destroyed by fire on Sept. 25, 2010. Losses from the fire are the subject of a lawsuit in the Nova Scotia Supreme Court.

File photo

By Greg Bennett

A court battle over fish lost in a series of Cape Sable Island fires may continue on for another day as a result of a Nova Scotia Supreme Court decision issued on Feb. 24.

Merex Incorporated is suing to recover its losses from three fires at the Stoney Island Fisheries facility.

The lawsuit was launched almost four years ago claiming that the fishing company was negligent in caring for the stored fish in a Dec. 2008 fire. Merex added the insurance company Lloyds to the suit after two more fires at the facility during August and September of 2010.

Merex is claiming losses totaling more than $1.4-million.

Stoney Island Fisheries was seeking to have the claim dismissed through a summary judgment but Justice John D. Murphy rejected the company’s arguments noting that it has the burden to prove that neglect did not cause the damages.

The Justice did find that the insurance company Lloyds has no obligation to Merex for the product destroyed in the fires – unless, among other things, there is a judgment against Stoney Island Fisheries for being legally liable for the losses.

The 2010 fires at the Cape Sable Island facility were pegged as suspicious early on in the investigation by RCMP.

The first fire occurred in August and destroyed a bait shed and storage building.

At the second fire at the facility, four departments were dispatched to the blaze on the Bull’s Head Wharf Road just after 2 a.m. on Sept. 25, 2010. Firefighters arrived to find one of the freezer buildings engulfed in flames.

The freezer building, which contained a large quantity of fish products, was adjacent to the bait shed and storage building that was destroyed by fire the previous month.

Barrington RCMP say the case surrounding the 2010 arsons at the Stoney Island facility remains unsolved.