The judge approves the settlement in the event of a disgraced Ottawa fertility doctor

A judge has upheld the multimillion-dollar class-action lawsuit filed by disgraced Ottawa fertility doctor Norman Barwin in favor of families who claim he used the wrong sperm – or even his own – to conceive at least 100 children.

Ontario Supreme Court Justice Calum MacLeod approved the settlement Monday afternoon, which includes a negotiated payout worth $ 13.375 million.

Since the class action lawsuit was approved in July, it has grown by 18 people to 244 members, including former patients and children conceived through artificial insemination.

Throughout the class, 17 have discovered that Barwin is their biological father through DNA.

Leading plaintiffs Dan and Davina Dixon had sought Barwin’s help conceiving a child with their daughter Rebecca, born in 1990. Only in recent years did the family learn that Barwin – not Dan Dixon – was Rebecca’s biological father.

Rebecca Dixon, left, appears with her parents, Davina and Dan. The family members are named as the lead plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit against the disgraced fertility doctor Norman Barwin. (Submitted)

Rebecca Dixon said they reached their goal with the class action lawsuit, one of which was to raise awareness among Barwin’s former patients of possible errors.

“I certainly never expected to find as many people as we did in as many different situations as we did,” Dixon said in an interview with CBC after the decision.

The five-year journey led her to meet half-siblings and others seeking clarification about their origins, she said.

None of those who were part of the original group seeking certification of a class withdrew from the settlement, according to Peter Cronyn, the lawyer representing the families.

Maximum payout of $ 50,000

Members of the class action lawsuit have until the end of February to attend, which includes new individuals who must have their DNA tested to confirm their eligibility.

Members of class action lawsuits are entitled to up to $ 50,000 depending on the individual “injury category”.

The highest payout is for families who have DNA evidence, a child or children conceived “with Dr. Barwin’s assistance, or with semen previously entrusted to Dr. Barwin, is not the biological child of the man in the couple.”

The first child of these patients is eligible for $ 40,000, and each additional child in the same family is “eligible up to an additional $ 10,000 each in total.”

The settlement also includes compensation to patients who have entrusted their semen to Barwin for storage and retention, which was then used for the conception of a child with an unrelated patient.

The class action agreement states that the negotiated settlement is not an admission of injustice by Barwin, which “has denied and continues to deny all of the plaintiffs’ claims in this case.”

In 2019, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario Barwin revoked his medical license and found that he had committed professional dishonesty by using his own semen to inseminate more patients and use the wrong semen with many others. Barwin claimed no competition at the time and was fined $ 10,730.

CBC News has not received a response from Barwin’s lawyer.


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