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Government seeks dismissal of dead man's lawsuit

Alex Glancy
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Nov 26/04) - A man who died nearly two months ago has been asked to appear in court in December.

A notice published in Monday's News/North says that unless Richard Tologanak appears in court Dec. 17, the Commissioner of the NWT will ask the judge to dismiss a claim Tologanak filed in 1998.

Tologanak died Sept. 25 when he was hit by two vehicles while riding his bicycle in Edmonton.

Tologanak filed a suit against the territorial government in July 1998 after being injured while on a work detail when he was a prisoner at the South Mackenzie Correctional Centre.

In the statement of claim, Tologanak names the NWT's Commissioner, as represented by the Minister and Deputy Minister of Justice, as well as the prison's warden and two correctional officers. The suit sought $75,000 in general damages plus other costs.

According to government lawyer Douglas Lester, they have to make sure the man killed in Edmonton is the same person who had filed the lawsuit.

"We conducted an investigation and determined that there was a man with that name found deceased, but we weren't able to determine if it was the same Richard Tologanak," he said.

The government has to proceed as though Tologanak is still alive, explained Lester. They can seek to have the case dismissed after a prolonged period of inaction.

In its latest court filing, the government says Tologanak "has taken no steps to materially advance this action (since filing it in 1998)."

Tologanak's former lawyer, James Posynick, ceased to act for his client in 2001, and said he hadn't heard from Tologanak "in many, many years."