publication date: Jun. 5, 2015
Canadian Judge Orders Tobacco Companies to Pay $12 Billion to About One Million Quebec Citizens
A Quebec court ordered three major tobacco companies to pay US$12 billion, over 15 billion Canadian dollars, in damages in a landmark class action lawsuit.
On June 1, Quebec Superior Court Judge Brian Riordan instructed Canadian tobacco companies JTI-Macdonald, Imperial Tobacco, and Rothmans, Benson & Hedges to pay punitive and moral damages to two groups of Quebecois plaintiffs. The lawsuit was filed in fall 1998, and legal proceedings began in 2012.
Riordan condemned the firms’ operations:
“The companies earned billions of dollars at the expense of the lungs, the throats, and the general well-being of their customers,” Riordan said. “If the companies are allowed to walk away unscathed now, what would be the message to other industries that today or tomorrow find themselves in a similar moral conflict?”
The case marked the first time tobacco companies had gone to trial in a civil lawsuit in Canada. One group of plaintiffs—the Blais File—said that they became seriously ill from smoking. The second, the Létourneau File, claimed they became dependent on nicotine.
Riordan upheld the plaintiffs’ claims that the companies committed four separate wrongdoings:
• Failing to properly warn their customers about the dangers of smoking,
• Underestimating of evidence relating to the harmful effects of tobacco,
• … Continue reading 41-22 Canadian Judge Orders Tobacco Companies to Pay $12 Billion to About One Million Quebec Citizens
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