Duceppe family seeks $1.1 million from seniors' residence over mother's death

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The family of former Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe is seeking $1.14 million from the luxury seniors' residence where their 93-year-old mother perished after being trapped in a courtyard during a false fire alarm last January.

Helene Rowley Hotte Duceppe died of hypothermia on Jan. 20, on a morning when it was a bitter minus 35 degrees outside and snowing.

The three-page letter says the death could have been avoided and alleges irresponsibility, negligence and carelessness on the part of the residence.

The family is seeking damages for each of Rowley Hotte Duceppe's seven children, her estate and reimbursement of her funeral costs.

A coroner's report last month said video surveillance showed the woman trapped in the courtyard for six hours trying to get back inside the building to no avail since her access card wouldn't let her back inside and no one noticed her absence.

In a lawyer's letter dated Wednesday, the family gave Lux Gouverneur Montreal some 10 days to respond or the Duceppe clan would take legal action.