100,000 Canadian Smokers To Be Compensated

Smokers

100,000 Canadian Smokers To Be Compensated. 3 tobacco firms, JTI-MacDonald, Rothmans Benson & Hedges and Imperial Tobacco Canada were ordered to pay billions of dollars in damages. The court ordered these three tobacco firms to pay more than C $15bn (US $11bn, £8.5bn). The plaintiffs involved in this case were smokers from Quebec, who had claimed that these three tobacco firms had not warned them of the dangers that were related to smoking. The plaintiffs had stated that these three tobacco companies had known since the 1950s, that their products had been causing cancer and various other illnesses, but still they had not warned people about this.

A Valid Argument By The Plaintiffs?

According to JTI-MacDonald, Rothmans Benson & Hedges and Imperial Tobacco Canada, Canadians were well aware of the health risks that were associated with smoking and had known so since more than 50 years.

But the Quebec Court of Appeal sided with the decision of the lower court, that the 3 tobacco companies had not provided enough information regarding the ‘safety defect’ that was present in their tobacco products. This happens to be the largest ever award given to damages, in the history of Canada and the award will also include interest on the damages.

Biggest Class Action Award In The History Of Canada

Brian Riordan, Quebec Superior Court Justice, in June 2015, ordered JTI-MacDonald, Rothmans Benson & Hedges and Imperial Tobacco Canada to pay out over $15-billion to people who fell ill as a result of smoking and to people who were addicted to smoking. This is being heralded as a landmark judgment and a gargantuan defeat to the global tobacco industry.

A lawyer who filed the appeal in the courts, for the smokers, against the 3 tobacco companies, Philippe Trudel, said that the decision was a huge victory. Philippe Trudel estimated that the total damages that would be owed by the 3 tobacco companies, after the appeal ruling, would be over $17-billion. Philippe Trudel went on to say, “It is excellent news for victims who have been waiting for this day for a long time. We’re very happy with the result, clearly.”

What The Tobacco Companies Have To Say

Rothmans-Benson & Hedges condemned the judgment of the court and said it would appeal to the Supreme Court. Peter Luongo, Managing Director of the company said, “Today’s decision by the Court of Appeal changes a fundamental principle of class action law and allows class-wide recovery of damages without proof from even a single class member. We believe this unprecedented change in the law warrants review and reversal by the Supreme Court of Canada.”

Imperial Tobacco spokesman, Eric Gagnon said that the company was disillusioned by the decision of the court and told reporters, “We’ve shown that adult consumers have known the risks associated with tobacco for decades. We also know that it’s the federal government that gives us the license to allow us to operate in this market, and we followed the laws and regulations.”

JTI-Macdonald Corp., sent out a statement saying that they “fundamentally disagreed” with the decision made by the court. Imperial Tobacco and JTI-Macdonald said they they would be considering appealing the decision to the Supreme Court of Canada.

What The Victims Have To Say

Lise Blais, the widow of Jean-Yves Blais (who died of lung cancer at the age of 68, in September 2012), one of the original plaintiffs of this case, said, “During the trial, the tobacco companies said it was the fault of the smokers, but for me it isn’t. They played hide-and-seek with smokers.” She claimed that her husband started smoking way back in the 1950s and at this time, people were not aware of the risks related to smoking and though he had tried thrice to quit, he was not able to. She said of the tobacco companies, “They’re liars.”

Meanwhile…

As per the verdict of the court, JTI-MacDonald, Rothmans Benson & Hedges and Imperial Tobacco Canada, have to pay damages amounting to around $17-billion to as many as 100,000 Quebec smokers, who developed various kinds of diseases due to smoking or were not able to quit smoking as they became addicted to it.

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Brian Lynn

About the Author: Brian Lynn

Brian Lynn is the lead editor with 15 years of experience in the field of journalism, He is Ph.D. Holder in the field of Arts.

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