Mount Pearl Company sues Eastern Health for non-payment of N95 gloves and masks

ST. JOHN’S, NL — A local business that the province says supplied it with counterfeit N95 masks in the fall of 2020 is suing Eastern Health for nonpayment for mask and glove orders.

The Mount Pearl-based parent company of Berg Water – 2001 Investments Ltd. — filed a statement of claim in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador earlier this month for C$691,679 and US$98,190.56, alleging Eastern Health owes the money for unpaid bills.

The document says Eastern Health issued a purchase order to the company for five million nitrile gloves in September 2020, priced at 65 cents each plus tax. He then placed a verbal order for an additional 40,000 extra-long gloves at the same price.

The company says it delivered the gloves between November 2020 and May 2021 and issued invoices to Eastern Health the following August; taking into account the deposit paid, the amount owed was $1,898,650. Eastern Health made a payment of $1,206,971 two months later and refused to pay the balance, according to the document.

In the meantime, Eastern Health also issued a purchase order to 2001 Investments for 100,080 N95 masks at a unit cost of $5.95 each, for which the company had to pay a non-refundable security deposit of nearly $100,000. US$. Eastern Health later told the company it would not accept the masks, although it never officially revoked the purchase order and refused to pay the deposit despite repeated requests, the document says. judicial.

Eastern Health has not yet filed a response to the statement. A spokeswoman told Telegram on Friday that the health authority was reviewing the request and was unable to comment on the case while it was in court.

Last June, the province reported that it purchased N95 masks from Berg Water in the fall of 2020 and later determined them to be counterfeit after checking their lot numbers against a public counterfeit notice from the manufacturer of the mask. 3M masks.

“It was determined that 100,560 counterfeit masks entered inventory at the end of November 2020, of which 1,320 were issued to facilities in Eastern Health, Central Health and Western Health, a briefing note prepared for the Minister of Health, Dr. John Haggie in January 2021. lit. All but 180 masks, which were believed to be in use, have been withdrawn from circulation.

“We have returned the lot and are seeking our money back,” Haggie told the House of Assembly last June. “None of those involved in using these substandard masks suffered any health consequences as a result.”

Regional health authorities said they received documentation to validate the authenticity of the masks before ordering them and Berg Water had provided samples for review by local occupational health and safety professionals, who considered them to be genuine.

Berg Water disputed the claim that the masks were counterfeit. Chairman Tony Kenny told the Telegram last year that he was shocked when government officials contacted him about this and contacted 3M to ask if all N95s with the specified lot numbers had been determined. false. They told him no.

Kenny said at the time he contacted the government and offered to have the masks tested, which cost him nearly $5,000. The masks were tested as surgical-grade N95 respirators, not standard-grade N95s, and nine out of 32 of them failed the higher-tier test.

“No one has ever proven to me that these masks are fakes,” Kenny said at the time. “I did what I could to contact 3M and send them to an independent lab. I don’t know what else we could do.

– With files by Evan Careen

About Matthew R. Dailey

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