Quebec tobacco class action judgements issued
02 June 2015
The judgement in two Canadian class action lawsuits has been publicly issued at the Quebec Superior Court in Canada on 1st June 2015 following a private release which was made on 27th May 2015.
The judgement follows a ten year legal challenge against British American Tobacco’s Canadian subsidiary, Imperial Tobacco Canada as well as Philip Morris International and Japan Tobacco International’s Canadian subsidiaries.
The cases were brought against the three Canadian tobacco manufacturers on behalf of two groups of Plaintiffs: smokers, who smoked a minimum of 12 pack-years and who were diagnosed with lung, throat and laryngeal cancer or emphysema prior to 12th March 2012; and smokers who were addicted to nicotine at the time the proceedings were commenced (September 1998) and remained addicted until at least 21st February 2005.
British American Tobacco plc was not a party to the proceeding and is not a party to the judgement, only its Canadian subsidiary, Imperial Tobacco Canada.
On 1st June 2015, the judge publicly issued a ruling in favour of the Plaintiffs awarding a total of CAD$15.6billion in moral and punitive damages, including interest. Imperial Tobacco Canada’s share of the total damages would be CAD$10.4 billion.
The judgement also stated that if an appeal was to be made, a provisional execution order would require the defendants to pay CAD$1.131billion between them. Imperial Tobacco Canada’s share of the provisional execution order would be CAD$743 million.
There are strong legal grounds with which to challenge both the overall judgement, and to seek a stay of the provisional execution order, which Imperial Tobacco Canada will do within 30 days of the original 27th May ruling.
As such, no payments will be made until the request to stay the provisional execution order has been heard and a judgement made.
British American Tobacco is the world's second largest quoted tobacco group by global market share, with brands sold in more than 200 markets. We have five Global Drive Brands - Dunhill, Kent, Lucky Strike, Pall Mall and Rothmans - and over 200 brands in our portfolio. We hold robust market positions in each of our regions and have leadership positions in more than 60 markets.