Class action suit against profession in Alberta
By Maria DiDanieli
An Alberta woman has launched a class action suit against chiropractic in that province. The suit, filed on Thursday, June 12 in Edmonton, is asking for more than a half billion
dollars in damages not only for the victim, Sandy Nette and her husband, David,
but for an entire class – anyone in Alberta treated or harmed by chiropractors who deliver what the suit calls "inappropriate and non-beneficial adjustments."
Nette had been going to her chiropractor regularly for more than seven years, receiving
adjustments to her back and neck that she believed helped maintained her health.
The suit outlines that minutes after a routine chiropractic visit that included a neck adjustment, on
September 13, 2007, Sandy felt ill and had to compose herself in the clinic's
waiting room. She tried to drive home but only got as far as an off ramp south
of Edmonton's Yellowhead Highway. That's when she called her husband, David who
took her directly to hospital where she suffered a massive stroke.
The unprecedented lawsuit is groundbreaking because it is the first time
lawyers have challenged the veracity of the fundamental underpinnings of
chiropractic in a court of law in Canada. If successful, chiropractors in
Alberta would have to repay a decade's worth of fees – about $500 million – to
all patients of chiropractors who were injured by or received so-called "inappropriate and non-beneficial adjustments".
In the statement of claim, which has not been proven in court, the plaintiffs
charge that the Alberta College and Association of Chiropractors "willfully and recklessly blinded themselves"
to the fact that many chiropractors were offering disproven and ineffective
treatments that were useless and dangerous. It also claims that the College
"acted in bad faith," putting "the promotional and economic interests of
chiropractors ahead of its duty to protect the public from economic exploitation
and physical harm."
Dr. Brian Gushaty is the registrar for the Alberta College and Association of
Chiropractors. He declined to comment on the suit prior to its review by the
organization's legal counsel. "This is the first that I've heard of it, so I
don't feel it's responsible to make any comment about it …"
But, most interestingly, the class action suit challenges the foundation of
chiropractic – the vertebral subluxation. Many contemporary chiropractors
believe that the body can heal itself, so long as an innate energy flows
unimpeded from the nervous system out the vertebrae of the spine.
rabble.ca, who has broken this story to the press across Canada, also has exclusive online video
footage of David and Sandy Nette talking about their experience on You Tube.
The law firm of Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP, intends to launch similar law
suits in other provinces.