Appeal judge rules former mill workers did not miss deadline to file court papers

Former employees of a shuttered Bathurst mill are feeling more optimistic now that a judge with the province's Court of Appeal has ruled they did not miss an important deadline to file court papers.

Seventeen former employees brought legal action against three unions over lost pension income, alleging their interests weren't duly represented when the Smurfit Stone mill shut down in 2005, but a lower court judge ruled they had missed the six-year deadline.

Daniel Gallagher and several of his former colleagues packed a Fredericton court-room on Wednesday to hear the decision.

Gallagher says the judge will now decide if the case will go to trial, but adds lawyers say it could take several months for a date to be set.