Champion of Justice Award 2012: The Jessica Campaign

Jul 10, 2012 | Other

by Ches Crosbie
Personal Injury Lawyer at Ches Crosbie Barristers

Many of us plaintiff lawyers have been privileged to work with people whose lives have been altered by tragic experience.  In situations where financial amends can never heal the wound or salve the loss, people often take solace in the thought that, in taking action – possibly, but not necessarily, legal action – they may help to prevent the same or a similar tragedy from happening to someone else.

Those who take selfless action to effect change in the wake of personal tragedy are the true champions of justice.

Jeannette Holman-Price has responded to tragedy in this way.  She has taken action to change the law through litigation, public advocacy, and political action, and has engaged in tireless work for the brain injured – which includes the rehabilitation of her own son Peter-Luc.  Jeannette’s endeavors on behalf of law reform and safety have caused APTLA to proudly award the Champion of Justice Award for 2012, to the Jessica Campaign.

Jeannette’s journey as a safety advocate began in December 2005, when her daughter Jessica Holman-Price was killed by a snow removal truck in Montreal.  Jessica, then 21, was standing on a snowbank waiting to cross the street with her 10-year-old brother, when he was snagged by the truck and pulled underneath.  Jessica managed to push him to safety, but in doing so, slid under the truck and was crushed by its wheels.

Jeannette has been campaigning for truck sideguards, brain injury prevention and rehabilitation, and other safety initiatives ever since, giving rise to the Jessica Campaign.  She also doggedly challenged injustice under the Quebec no-fault auto system and won her case.

Jeannette came upon the immediate aftermath of Peter-Luc and Jessica’s injuries.  The truck driver, who was speaking on a cell phone at the time of the collision, was given a financial award based on psychological injury.  She, the mother of the victims, who immediately witnessed her children’s mangled bodies, was refused any compensation.  A long and expensive march through the Quebec court system resulted in victory in the Court of Appeal.

A partial list of Jeannette’s involvements is an awesome testimonial to her energy and dedication to the cause of safety:

  • The City of St. John’s and the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador have accepted her advocacy in favor of equipping heavy equipment with truck sideguards.
  • Parliament has for consideration a bill proposed by Siobhan Coady and others which would make truck sideguards mandatory.
  • Jeannette chairs the Newfoundland and Labrador Injury Prevention Coalition.
  • She founded the support group CANDO (Children and Adolescents with Neurological Disabilities Organization).
  • She has worked with government to produce a helmet safety and concussion awareness program and a program of helmet fitting to local schools.
  • She hosted the first National Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims held in Newfoundland and Labrador in 2008, now an annual November event.
  • She is the driving force behind The Jessica Campaign.
  • Jeannette is a national vice-president of the Brain Injury Association of Canada.
  • Most recently, Jeannette has been instrumental in the formation in Newfoundland and Labrador of the Coalition for Road Safety, or CARS, and is its newly elected first president.  CARS is a coalition of community groups and organizations such as Safety Services NL, the Brain Injury Association, and unions such as the Teamsters and the Allied Trades, formed to advocate for road safety.  Believe me, government is paying attention to this group.

There is no person or movement in Atlantic Canada more worthy of recognition as a Champion of Justice than the Jessica Campaign, through Jeannette Holman-Price.  Jessica and Peter-Luc are the spirit of the campaign, but Jeannette is the boots on the ground.  I call on Jeannette Holman-Price to accept the Champion of Justice award on behalf of the Jessica Campaign.

Chesley F. Crosbie, Q.C.

Source: Ches Crosbie

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