Big Tobacco suits

The Quebec Court of Appeal has sided with the federal gov. in a case pitting smokers against Big Tobacco, with words that the government is not on the hook in the class action suits. The decision dated on Wednesday, repeats the principal what the Supreme Court of Canadian ruled in July 2011, Ottawa can not be used or heald for damages in smoking lawsuit.

Quebec is the battleground for a landmark $27 billion civil trial pitting three major tobacco manufacturers against representatives of 1.8 million Quebecers. The case is described as the biggest class-action lawsuit in Canadian history.

Quebec is the battleground for landmark $27 billion pitting three big tobacco manufacturers against representatives of 1.8 million Quebecers. The case is described

The federal government has been dragged into the case by the tobacco companies. The companies have argued that their cigarette sales simply followed federal guidelines, and said they plan to sue Ottawa to recoup damages if they lose. With this week’s ruling that tactic seems unlikely, barring a successful appeal. And the Supreme Court of Canada, which would have to hear an appeal, has already made it clear what it thinks.

In July 2011 the federal government can’t be dragged into court aimed at getting tobacco companies the bill for smokers who get sick. The latest Quebec ruling says the Supreme Court case, involving two lawsuits.

The defendants, Imperial Tobacco Canada Ltd.; Rothmans, Benson & Hedges; and JTI-Macdonald, have argued that the dangerous health effects of tobacco have been common knowledge for decades and there was no conspiracy to hide it. Chris Koddermann, director of corporate affairs for Rothmans, Benson & Hedges, says the ruling will not have any impact on its defense.

Imperial Tobacco Canada Ltd., JTI MacDonald, Benson & Hedges, Rothmans, have argued the dangerous health effects of tobacco

One of our main defenses in Rothmans can’t be held liable for conduct that has been for decades, ruled by directives, whishes and policies of the federal governments, said Koddermann. That defense remains untouched by the Court of Appeal’s ruling”. Koddermann said that the company still intended to call federal government witnesses to testify in support of their defense.

Eric Gagnon , a Imperial Tobacco spokesman. From our perspective, we belive the federal government has been the main partner of the industry and has been for decades , so it only makes sense for them to stand nest to us in this class and respond to any allegations. The tobacco companies have 90 days to determine before they will appeal.

One anti-tobacco lobby spokesman said that it will be a surprise if Canada’s court would open the debate. Mario Bujold said that the decision from this week could also have a positive impact on the Quebec trial.

It will reduce the time of the trial because the Canadian government, said Buiold, head of the Quebec Council on Tobacco and Health. That will have a bad impact on the total time of the trial.

The federal government had tried to have itself refused from the shortly case that was started the trail judge for to go forward with the case, hoping to avoid delays.

The case has taken years for trial phase. IT steams from two cases that ere filed in 1998, certified and consolidated in 2005, appeals and delays before it got under way in 2012. The plaintiffs argue because they knew they were putting out a bad product and hide the bad effects from the public.

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