Motorists stuck in snowstorm on Highways 13/520 hoping for settlement in class action lawsuit

The lawyers for the hundreds of motorists who were stranded in their cars a year ago on Highways 13 and 520 during a snowstorm say they're working on a settlement to their class action lawsuit which so far has prompted an "openness" from the Quebec government and a flat-out refusal from the city of Montreal.

The class action lawsuit represents as many as two thousand motorists who are seeking about $5000 each in compensation.

Lawyer Marc-Antoine Cloutier said at a news conference they proposed a meeting to hammer out a settlement which was met with a positive reaction by the Quebec government but was refused by the city of Montreal.

Cloutier said they want to settle this as quickly as possible so that people can get compensation rapidly.

Cloutier said this was "not just a question of money but recognition" about a problematic situation where someone didn't do their jobs and motorists suffered for it.

Jacques Laramée is one of them.

The St. Constant resident was heading home from St. Jerôme when he got stuck with other motorists on Highway 13.

Laramée got emotional as he recalled how powerless and alone he felt with no food, no medication for his diabetes and no communication from anyone about what was happening, likening it to a hostage situation.

Laramée said he was trapped on the highway for about ten hours and said it was incomprehensible how something like that could happen to so many people.

Cloutier said both the city and the government were to blame for not coordinating things to prevent this from happening and then when it did happen, they were to blame for the "chaotic management" of the situation.

Cloutier said if there is no settlement on the horizon in the next couple of months, they'll be preparing for a trial possibly this fall.