Duceppe family sues for $1.25 million over mother's death

Duceppe sues over death

The family of former Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe is suing the luxury seniors' residence where their 93-year-old mother perished after being trapped in a courtyard during a false fire alarm last winter.

Helene Rowley Hotte Duceppe died of hypothermia a year ago today, on a morning when it was a bitter minus 35 degrees outside and snowing.

Lawyer Marc-Antoine Cloutier says that while the death may have been accidental, the alleged negligence of staff at the Lux Gouverneur Montreal contributed to the tragedy.

A coroner's report released last June said video surveillance showed the woman trapped in the courtyard for six hours. She tried to get back inside the building to no avail, since her access card wouldn't let her back inside and no one noticed her absence.

Cloutier said the family and the estate are seeking just under $1.3 million for both the suffering experienced by Rowley Hotte Duceppe, and the pain her death has caused her seven children.

The family sent the Lux Gouverneur notice last July that they were seeking damages, and were prepared to take legal action if the residence did not respond.

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