Proposed plaintiffs in the Sunrise Propane class action have won a skirmish, forcing provincial regulators to immediately turn over photographs, videos, and parts of witness statements concerning the explosion site. Regulators had refused to provide these documents, arguing that they are still in the course of their own investigations, and that disclosure of their documents may impede their ability to prosecute those responsible.
Master Dash of the Ontario Superior Court ruled that that the plaintiffs’ had a legitimate, immediate need to understand the condition of the site, after the explosion but before the provincial investigation and cleanup. Since the regulators had taken exclusive possession of the site, and therefore had the only evidence of its condition at the relevant time, they were obliged to turn over a minimum set of documents forthwith, at the cost of the plaintiffs. See Durling v. Sunrise Propane.