$27 billion lawsuit against tobacco titans begins in QC Superior Court

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Unionist
$27 billion lawsuit against tobacco titans begins in QC Superior Court

Unionist

[url=http://www.montrealgazette.com/health/Tobacco+titans+finally+trial+Monda... titans finally go on trial Monday[/url]

Quote:
It has taken 13 years, but the first class-action trial against Canada’s tobacco titans will finally get under way Monday with about 2 million Quebecers claiming an unprecedented $27 billion in damages they suffered after taking up smoking.

It is considered the biggest lawsuit ever to make it to trial in Canada.

 

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I'm interested in following this - I just hope it does not drag on forever.

Mr.Tea

This is bullshit. Nobody forced anybody to smoke. Everybody knows it's bad for you. Yes, quitting is hard, but it's not impossible. People aren't helpless and need to stop blaming others for the choices they make.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

^ who's got the popcorn?

Unionist

Mr.Tea wrote:

This is bullshit. Nobody forced anybody to smoke. Everybody knows it's bad for you. Yes, quitting is hard, but it's not impossible. People aren't helpless and need to stop blaming others for the choices they make.

Yeah, I've always had a hard time with the notion that we should pay for chemotherapy for smokers who brought their cancer on themselves.

Or expensive medication for HIV-AIDS sufferers who could easily have been more careful - or just celibate.

Never mind the costs of trauma care, surgery, etc., for those frickin' stupid people who can't be bothered to drive defensively. As if anyone forced them to use the roads anyway, when public transit is a widely available alternative.

And don't get me started on paying for abortions. See point #2 above.

I agree - blaming the tobacco companies for the stupidity of their customers would be as egregious as, say, punishing heroin and cocaine traffickers as opposed to the idiots who use those dangerous products. Or Big Pharma for peddling Oxycontin and the rest. Drug cartels don't force anyone to pop pills and snort and shoot up. These are bad choices made by individuals.

If I were the tobacco giants, I'd be countersuing the estates of the dead smokers for besmirching the good name of people who are just trying to create jobs and grow the tobacco economy.

ETA: Oh sorry Boom Boom, almost forgot:

Mr.Tea

Well, I'm with you on not punishing drug dealers. I favour legalization and think the "war on drugs" has been a complete disaster, one of the worst policies in history. So was alcohol prohibition. So I have no desire to see a new "war" being waged against tobacco.

Nobody wants to take responsbility anymore. I smoked for years. At the time I quit, I was smoking a pack a day. Quitting sucked. But I did it and so have millions of others. We've now got people suing tobacco companies for making them sick, suing fast food companies for making them fat. We'll soon have people suing TV companies for making them lazy and tabloids for making them stupid.

Jacob Two-Two

Everyone knows now that smoking is bad for you. Thirty years ago this was not such a clear position. Oh, the science was clear, but you also had a multi-billion dollar industry doing its level best to obfuscate that simple truth. While I agree that informed individuals have to take their own responsibility for doing something as stupid as smoking (sorry smokers, but you know it's true) I think the efforts the industry made to prevent people from becoming informed make them partly responsible for all the people who took up smoking between now and then. Hopefully the judge agrees. Personally I'd like to see the tobacco industry reduced to destitution and begging for coins on the street but that's a bit much to ask for, I guess.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I hope other provinces take up this case in their own jurisdictions. I want Big Tobacco bankrupt, like their sense of morality.

ygtbk

Unionist wrote:

Mr.Tea wrote:

This is bullshit. Nobody forced anybody to smoke. Everybody knows it's bad for you. Yes, quitting is hard, but it's not impossible. People aren't helpless and need to stop blaming others for the choices they make.

Yeah, I've always had a hard time with the notion that we should pay for chemotherapy for smokers who brought their cancer on themselves.

Or expensive medication for HIV-AIDS sufferers who could easily have been more careful - or just celibate.

Never mind the costs of trauma care, surgery, etc., for those frickin' stupid people who can't be bothered to drive defensively. As if anyone forced them to use the roads anyway, when public transit is a widely available alternative.

And don't get me started on paying for abortions. See point #2 above.

Unionist, much as you may think you're making an effective reductio ad absurdum argument here, you're actually not. Most people would want to provide medical care to the categories of people that you list out of compassion, but that doesn't mean smokers have no free will.

Mr.Tea

Yes, just like I want diabetics to be able to get insulin. I would oppose, however, them suing food companies for producing unhealthy food that these people voluntarily bought and consumed.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

"Free will"  was no counter to the manipulative and misleading ads that were prevalent on television, radio, and in print in the past, and which played their role in getting people hooked.

Unionist

ygtbk wrote:

Unionist, much as you may think you're making an effective reductio ad absurdum argument here, you're actually not. Most people would want to provide medical care to the categories of people that you list out of compassion, but that doesn't mean smokers have no free will.

And if tobacco companies spend multi-millions telling the public that (for example) filter cigarettes are safer, and smoking is allowed everywhere by society (as it was until a very few years ago), and if the companies suppressed studies and showed the contrary - would you not think they should be made to pay, if not to spend quality and quantity time in some prison somewhere?

How can it be that the explanation for so many people smoking and getting sick and dying, to this day, is something so simple as "free will"?

Next question: Which do you think requires a greater exercise of free will - 1. Using a condom; or 2. Quitting smoking?

 

ygtbk

Unionist wrote:

How can it be that the explanation for so many people smoking and getting sick and dying, to this day, is something so simple as "free will"?

Next question: Which do you think requires a greater exercise of free will - 1. Using a condom; or 2. Quitting smoking?

The data showing that smokers have higher mortality rates than non-smokers has been publicly available for almost five decades: see, for example, the timeline on page 16 of:

http://cancercontrol.cancer.gov/tcrb/monographs/8/m8_2.pdf

So claiming that people smoke because they're unaware of the risk hasn't been plausible for quite some time.

As for the second question, I'm a lifelong non-smoker, so I couldn't hazard a guess.

Unionist

ygtbk wrote:

 

So claiming that people smoke because they're unaware of the risk hasn't been plausible for quite some time.

Who made that claim? Should I repeat what I said, or can you just scroll up and re-read it and save me the copy and paste? Thanks.

Quote:
As for the second question, I'm a lifelong non-smoker, so I couldn't hazard a guess.

Then I suggest you sit back and listen to people who are addicted, or who are recovering smokers. Find out why they were so weak of will, where you were so lifelong strong. Ask what information was available to them, as opposed to your five decades of enlightenment.

Ask yourself other questions too. Did you ever vote for a municipal or provincial politician, in the last five decades, who tolerated (by silence or otherwise) smoking in workplaces, dining establishments, parks, or other places where people gather? How many decades have the hazards of second-hand smoke been known? Were they weak or stupid, these politicians, or just cynically didn't and don't give a damn? How about you, for that matter?

But don't get me wrong - I'm grateful to you for simplifying the whole issue into one of free will.

 

Mr.Tea

Unionist wrote:

Then I suggest you sit back and listen to people who are addicted, or who are recovering smokers. Find out why they were so weak of will, where you were so lifelong strong. Ask what information was available to them, as opposed to your five decades of enlightenment.

I'm a former smoker. I quit about 5 years ago. Until then, I smoked heavily for about 10 years. I've known my entire life that smoking is bad for you. I chose to do it anyway. I knew that every cigarette I smoked was a bad decision. i did it anyway. I was an adult. I made a decision. It may have been a bad decision but we all make those sometimes. Nobody manipulated me into smoking. Nobody tricked me or deceived me.

Unionist

Were you addicted, Mr.Tea?

 

ygtbk

Unionist wrote:

And if tobacco companies spend multi-millions telling the public that (for example) filter cigarettes are safer, and smoking is allowed everywhere by society (as it was until a very few years ago), and if the companies suppressed studies and showed the contrary -

This is from your earlier post (#12). The public has clearly had lots of information available on the risks of smoking for at least four (closer to five) decades, as I said, and demonstrated in the link posted above. Anyone who has taken up smoking over that period of time made a conscious choice.

You're welcome. 

If other people want to smoke, that is their decision, not mine. It's not a strength of will question, it's a matter of personal choice. Similarly, if they want to drink, or smoke dope, I don't view it as my concern.

And the secondhand smoke issue is interesting, but the actual statistics on it are pretty weak: see for example

http://www.otru.org/pdf/special/special_ets_eng.pdf

where the estimated number of second-hand smoke deaths is estimated at between 1100 and 7800 per year - them's some pretty wide error bars. But I'm curious - after all, society (by which you mean the government) permitted this - are you saying we have grounds for a class-action lawsuit against all the politicians who've been in office for the last fifty years? I've got a little list...

Mr.Tea

Unionist wrote:

Were you addicted, Mr.Tea?

I'm not a doctor or expert on addiction so I can't conclusively say whether I was technically physically addicted or not. Certainly, there were times when I got physical cravings for a cigarette. But plenty of times, the smoking was more of just a habit than a physical need (e.g. taking smoke breaks at work, smoking while walking to the subway, chain smoking while drinking a beer on a patio). Additionally, back then I was more traditional in my Jewish observance and so I didn't smoke on teh Jewish Sabbath. I suppose if I were totally, physically addicted, getting through 25 hours without a smoke would have been horrible. In reality, it wasn't that bad. Of course, I knew before I smoked my first cigarette that they were addicted. I wasn't deceived.

 I smoked mainly because it was a social thing and because, frankly, I enjoyed it. We all enjoy plenty of things that we know aren't good for us. We eat shitty foods, we watch too much tv, we drink too much coffee, we all have our vices. But we choose them and their our responsibility.

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

ygtbk wrote:

Unionist wrote:

And if tobacco companies spend multi-millions telling the public that (for example) filter cigarettes are safer, and smoking is allowed everywhere by society (as it was until a very few years ago), and if the companies suppressed studies and showed the contrary -

This is from your earlier post (#12). The public has clearly had lots of information available on the risks of smoking for at least four (closer to five) decades, as I said, and demonstrated in the link posted above. Anyone who has taken up smoking over that period of time made a conscious choice.

You're welcome. 

If other people want to smoke, that is their decision, not mine. It's not a strength of will question, it's a matter of personal choice. Similarly, if they want to drink, or smoke dope, I don't view it as my concern.

And the secondhand smoke issue is interesting, but the actual statistics on it are pretty weak: see for example

http://www.otru.org/pdf/special/special_ets_eng.pdf

where the estimated number of second-hand smoke deaths is estimated at between 1100 and 7800 per year - them's some pretty wide error bars. But I'm curious - after all, society (by which you mean the government) permitted this - are you saying we have grounds for a class-action lawsuit against all the politicians who've been in office for the last fifty years? I've got a little list...

ygtbk, I never had anything available to me, let alone could I read when I was a raised in a house of smokers. Had to sit in long car rides in the winter with no windows down. Then surrounded by adverts and glorification of smoking, inevitably fuelled by peer pressure. I'm glad you avoided such a path. The government delisted oxycontin recently. Why do they still allow cigarettes to be sold?

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

Mr.Tea wrote:

Unionist wrote:

Were you addicted, Mr.Tea?

I'm not a doctor or expert on addiction so I can't conclusively say whether I was technically physically addicted or not. Certainly, there were times when I got physical cravings for a cigarette. But plenty of times, the smoking was more of just a habit than a physical need (e.g. taking smoke breaks at work, smoking while walking to the subway, chain smoking while drinking a beer on a patio). Additionally, back then I was more traditional in my Jewish observance and so I didn't smoke on teh Jewish Sabbath. I suppose if I were totally, physically addicted, getting through 25 hours without a smoke would have been horrible. In reality, it wasn't that bad. Of course, I knew before I smoked my first cigarette that they were addicted. I wasn't deceived.

 I smoked mainly because it was a social thing and because, frankly, I enjoyed it. We all enjoy plenty of things that we know aren't good for us. We eat shitty foods, we watch too much tv, we drink too much coffee, we all have our vices. But we choose them and their our responsibility.

You're comparing nicotine with fast food, tv and coffee?

Our parents smoked and so did theirs. And to this day my 3 siblings and I still smoke. You think we chose it? We've all tried many times to quit with varying degrees of success. (It doesn't help when family gatherings centre around the ashtray outside.) Even the first niece of age struggles with it. But it's all about choice. smh

Why are they still for sale? How does oxycontin get delisted but cigarettes don't. Talk to me when I have to go underground to get my fix. Or then again...

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Other provinces team up to take on tobacco companies   :applause 

On another front, six provinces are teaming up to sue Canadian tobacco firms for health-care costs.

B.C., New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and P.E.I. are retaining a national legal team to help them prosecute Canadian tobacco companies.

They're seeking to recover billions of dollars.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Tobacco firm JTI-Macdonald obtains creditor protection after Quebec court ruling

JTI-Macdonald Corp. says it's been granted creditor protection following a Quebec Court of Appeal decision upholding a landmark judgment ordering it and two other companies to pay billions of dollars in damages to Quebec smokers.

The tobacco firm says the protection under the federal Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) will allow it to continue its business activities while it's liable for up to $1.77 billion to smokers who fell ill or were addicted.

Imperial Tobacco, JTI-Macdonald and Rothmans-Benson & Hedges had appealed a ruling that found the companies chose profits over the health of their customers.

In June 2015, Quebec Superior Court Justice Brian Riordan ordered the companies to make payments of more than $15-billion to smokers. At the time, the ruling was believed to be the biggest class action award in Canadian history.....

Unionist

Wow - were we really having this conversation 7 years ago today? Time flies when you're not smoking! And Boom Boom has left us... let us remember him always.

I don't understand this story, but will look into more sources. Who gave these thugs CCAA protection? SNC-Lavalin?

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..yes. reminds me of the exxon valdez spill. i don't think that is fully settled today and that was in 1989. that's 30 years ago.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Creditor protection given to cigarette maker suspends order to pay billions to victims

The Quebec Council on Tobacco and Health said Monday that smokers who won a recent court victory are being denied justice after an Ontario judge granted cigarette maker JTI-Macdonald Corp. protection from its creditors last week.

JTI-Macdonald was among three companies that lost in the Quebec Court of Appeal March 1. The court upheld a landmark judgment ordering them to pay billions of dollars in damages to Quebec smokers. Now that JTI-Macdonald is under creditor protection, however, the company will not have to disperse any funds to tobacco victims for now.

The Ontario Superior Court decision suspends legal proceedings against all three companies until April 5, even though only JTI-Macdonald sought protection from creditors. Benson & Hedges and Imperial Tobacco made no such request.

The Quebec Council on Tobacco and Health led two class actions against the companies and won in 2015, when Quebec Superior Court Justice Brian Riordan ordered the companies to make payments of more than $15-billion to smokers who either fell ill or were addicted. At the time, the ruling was believed to be the biggest class action award in Canadian history.

Philippe Trudel, one of the lawyers representing tobacco victims in the class action, called the Ontario court's decision to suspend proceedings against all three companies "unusual." Mario Bujold, spokesman for the Quebec Council on Tobacco and Health, said the Ontario court's ruling can be extended beyond April 5 and he worries victims will never see any money.

"Companies are very good at finding strategies to avoid paying damages they were ordered to pay," Bujold said, adding the court's decision will be contested.

"The Superior Court in Ontario is suspending the rights recognized by six judges in Quebec," he said. "It's unacceptable."

In a statement released Friday, JTI-Macdonald said it needed to seek protection under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act in order to "protect 500 Canadian jobs and carry on its business operations with minimal disruption.

"We fundamentally disagree with the court decision and are taking all necessary and appropriate measures to defend our lawful business," it said.