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BUS 393 Tobacco Class Action Lawsuit in Canada

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Debra Wong

on 29 March 2014

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Transcript of BUS 393 Tobacco Class Action Lawsuit in Canada

Kenneth Knight (case representative) vs. Imperial Tobacco Canada
Marketing of ‘light’ and ‘mild’ cigarettes
Permanent injunction
Refund of sales since 1974 in B.C.
Certification approved

Jean-Yves Blais and Quebec Council on Tobacco and Health (case representatives)
90,000 people affected by lung, larynx, throat cancers, and emphysema
$100,000 compensatory damages and $5000 punitive damage per smoker or ex-smoker in Quebec

Class Action Lawsuits on
Tobacco Manufacturers in Canada

Presented by:
Debra Wong
Annie Wu
Cynthia Wu

1. Background Information
2. Case Facts
3. Key Issues
4. Related Laws
5. Our Opinion
6. Conclusion
7. Q&A

Background Information
Imperial Tobacco Canada Limited, et al. v. Létourneau, et al.

Imperial Tobacco Canada
JTI (Japan Tobacco International) Macdonald Corporation
Rothmans Benson & Hedges

Plaintiffs: 2 groups of current and former Quebec smokers

Quebec Superior Court
Imperial Tobacco Canada Limited, et al. v. Cécilia Létourneau, et al continued
Claims that manufacturers failed to warn of the dangers of smoking and encouraged addiction
Largest class action lawsuit against tobacco manufacturers in Canadian history
Potential damages and penalties of up to $27 billion
Case Facts: The Class Action Timeline
Letourneau Case
(Sept 10, 1998)
Blais Case
(Nov 19, 1998)
Cecilia Letourneau (case representative)
1.78 million Quebec smokers considered clinically addicted to nicotine
$5000 compensatory damages and $5000 punitive damages per smoker

The Class Action Timeline continued
Knight Case
(May 8, 2003)
Ragoonanan Case
(April 30, 2008)
The family of three dead children and other victims of cigarette caused fires
Safe product and warn of hazards
Alleged the injuries, death, and property loss could have been reduced or avoided
Certification rejected

Issues - Defendant's Arguments
Known Risks
Virtual Partner
The Class Action Description
1997 Tobacco Act
Regulates the sale, production, labelling, and marketing
Must provide information about the product and its emissions
Cannot be sold to a young person
May not be promoted, except as authorized by this Act or the regulations
Conformity with product standards; inspectors may enter any place of tobacco being manufactured, tested, stored, packaged, labelled or sold.
2009 Quebec’s Tobacco-related Damages and Health Care Costs Recovery Act
To establish rules for recovery of tobacco-related healthcare costs and damages for an injury attributable to a wrong committed by one or more tobacco manufacturers
Failure to inform the public of the risks and dangers posed by tobacco products
The cost to deal with a disease or a general deterioration of health associated with tobacco
A class action may not be dismissed on the ground that the right of recovery is prescribed
Issues - Plaintiff's Arguments
Summary Question
Do you think it is appropriate to use a class action lawsuit?
Should government be
liable in the negligent misrepresentation, negligent design and failure to warn in
this case?
Summary Question
Should the government be
liable in the negligent misrepresentation, negligent design, and failure to warn in
this case?
We have more!
Our Opinions
Injury or death
A crime and somebody should bear some responsibility
Health of population should be a priority

Do you think the smokers in the class action have a valid claim?
Any Questions?
We have more!
Summary Question
Do you think the
government has a valid
case for recouping their
past and future healthcare costs for tobacco-related diseases?
If the class action took place in B.C., do you think the case would have been dismissed since Quebec is not bound by precedents in their Civil Code system?
Should tobacco companies be sued for injuries to or deaths of smokers?

The group includes all Quebec residents:

1) Before Nov 20, 1998, had smoked cigarettes manufactured by the defendants for a minimum of 5 pack years (36,500 cigarettes)
2) Had developed lung cancer, larynx cancer, throat cancer, or emphysema before Mar 12, 2012
Letourneau Case
The group includes all Quebec residents dependent on the nicotine:

1) Started smoking before Sept 30, 1994 using cigarettes manufactured by the defendants
2) On Sept 30, 1998 they were daily smokers of cigarette manufactured by the defendants
3) On Feb 21, 2005 they were still smoking cigarettes manufactured by the defendants, or were doing so until their death if it
preceded that date.
Blais Case
If the smokers (plaintiffs) win:
Similar cases will follow
If the manufacturers (defendants) win:
Continue to ignore health issues
Manufacturers will still survive
Government continues to regulate industry with higher taxes
Ontario’s $50-billion Lawsuit Against Big Tobacco Companies
Ontario government (plaintiff) vs. international parent tobacco companies (defendants)
Ontario’s Court of Appeal rejected the manufacturers' request of releasing parent companies from litigation

Attempts to recoup past and present healthcare costs related to smoking
Foreign parent companies like British American Tobacco, JTI-Macdonald Corp. and Macdonald Tobacco Inc., and Philip Morris Group are also included
Negligent Misrepresentation
Product liabillity
Individual choice
Voluntary assumption of risk
Likelihood of cancer has many variables
Packaging has graphic warnings - known to be harmful

Jean-Yves Blais and Quebec Council on Tobacco Health (case representatives)
90,000 Quebec smokers affected by lung, larynx, throat cancers, or emphysema
$100,000 compensatory damages and $5000 punitive damages per smoker or ex-smoker
Full transcript