Peterborough law firm apologizes to Spartan Bioscience and drops them from COVID-19 lawsuit

Miskin Law had alleged Ottawa firm supplied tests to Ottawa lab producing false positive test results at Case Manor in Bobcaygeon

Case Manor Care Community is a 96-bed long-term care home located at 28 Boyd Street in Bobcaygeon. (Photo: Sienna Living)
Case Manor Care Community is a 96-bed long-term care home located at 28 Boyd Street in Bobcaygeon. (Photo: Sienna Living)

Miskin Law admits it made a mistake.

On Tuesday (May 5), the Peterborough-based law firm announced it was launching a class action lawsuit against Bio-Test Laboratories and Spartan Bioscience Inc., both of Ottawa. The firm had alleged that Spartan Bioscience supplied COVID-19 tests to Bio-Test Laboratories, which resulted in false positive test results from samples of staff members and residents of Case Manor Care Community, a long-term care facility in Bobcaygeon.

After learning of the lawsuit, Spartan Bioscience publicly refuted Miskin Law’s allegations, saying its COVID-19 tests were never used at Bio-Test Laboratories. While Spartan Bioscience’s rapid tests had come under scrutiny by Health Canada, it was because of concerns about false negative test results, not false positive ones.

“We apologize to Spartan for involving them and we will proceed with the claim against Bio-Test Laboratories,” says Murray Miskin, senior lawyer and managing director of Miskin Law.

Miskin Law claims Spartan Bioscience was originally included in the lawsuit “based on incorrect information provided to the law firm.” The firm does not explain why it did not contact Spartan Bioscience before naming them in a lawsuit to confirm their tests were actually used.

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On April 26th, the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit declared a outbreak at Case Manor after 12 asymptomatic staff and residents tested positive for COVID-19.

On May 1st, the health unit was notified by Bio-Test Laboratories that a technical error had prompted the lab to reject all COVID-19 positive test results performed the previous weekend, including the 12 results from staff and residents of Case Manor. There was a concern the results may have been falsely positive.

Miskin Law says it was contacted on May 2nd by Case Manor staff and has since been retained by a number of the staff “about their losses due to the false positive findings affecting them and their families.”

The firm says it has proceeded with a class action lawsuit issued online on May 5th for the Superior Court in Peterborough against Bio-Test Laboratories, and all three of the firm’s lawyers held a video conference on May 6th with 11 Case Manor staff about the lawsuit.

Miskin Law says it may expand the lawsuit to include others in the City of Kawartha Lakes and Peterborough who had false positive test results from the same round of testing at Bio-Test Laboratories.

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During her weekly media briefing on May 6th, Peterborough medical officer of health Dr. Rosanna Salvaterra said the lab error resulting in false positive test results shouldn’t erode public confidence in COVID-19 testing,

“The lab (Bio-Test Laboratories) was very pro-active in identifying that there was a problem and then taking all the right steps and notifying us,” Dr. Salvaterra said. “As with any test, there is always the possibility that the test result is not accurate.”

“For the most part, the molecular testing being done now is very good at picking up the virus but it also has limits. We know if you test people that don’t have any symptoms, they may not have enough virus present for the test to pick it up. If the test is used for people who have symptoms, it’s a very good test.”