On March 1, 2019, five judges from the Quebec of Court of Appeal rendered a unanimous historic judgment of almost $17 billion and upheld the no less historic ruling of the Quebec Superior Court that the tobacco industry – Imperial Tobacco, Rothmans, Benson & Hedges and JTI-MacDonald – had for more than 50 years systematically lied, distorted the truth, minimized and trivialized the dangers of tobacco.
A summary can be seen here:

http://courdappelduquebec.ca/en/judgments/details/article/imperial-tobacco-canada-et-al-c-conseil-quebecois-sur-le-tabac-et-la-sante-et-al/cont/News/action/detail/

An English translation of the order of the Court of Appeal can be seen here:

http://courdappelduquebec.ca/fileadmin/Fichiers_client/Jugement/English_translation_of_the_orders.pdf

UPDATE – MARCH 15, 2019

Imperial Tobacco Canada Ltd. was given bankruptcy protection on Tuesday, March 12, 2019 under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act. Imperial Tobacco’s strategy is to obtain a sweetheart settlement of all tobacco lawsuits in Canada, and then to carry on business as normal. The tobacco industry has engaged in decades of wrongful behaviour that has caused disease and death on a massive scale. Court judgments in Quebec have been highly critical of the tobacco industry and have ordered the companies to pay billions of dollars. Now the companies are trying to avoid paying what they have been ordered to pay.

In June 2019, the Ontario Superior Court extended the creditor protection for tobacco companies to October 4, 2019.

ASH, CJTF, Quebec coalition, OCAT and PSC have written to provincial Ministers of Health and Attorneys General asking for support to end to creditor protection for tobacco companies.

The next hearing in Ontario Superior Court in the tobacco company creditor protection proceedings will be Wednesday Oct. 2, 2019 at 10:00am at 330 University Avenue in Toronto.

In March 2019, following the $13.5 billion Quebec Court of Appeal judgment, the three major tobacco companies sought and obtained creditor protection to avoid paying damages and to suspend all lawsuits against the major tobacco companies and their corporate affiliates.  The provinces are collectively suing the tobacco industry for more than $500 billion (with some estimates higher) in medicare cost recovery lawsuits.

The three major tobacco companies have each brought a motion to extend creditor protection from October 4, 2019 to March 6, 2020.  The Quebec class action plaintiffs (QCAPs) have responded, objecting to the March 6, 2020 date, and instead saying the extension date should be January 15, 2020.  The QCAPs also state that if each of the companies has not put forward a serious and viable offer, including significant contributions from each of the foreign parent companies, by Dec. 20, 2019, the QCAPs will object to any further extensions of the creditor protection order.

The Canadian Cancer Society has brought a motion, also to be heard Oct. 2, to further participate in the proceedings, with letters of support from 17 health organizations.

The Canadian Cancer Society notice of motion and affidavit can be seen here:

https://documentcentre.eycan.com/eycm_library/19/English/Motion%20Materials/006.%20Motion%20Record%20Stay%20Extension,%20returnable%20October%202,%202019/Responding%20Motion%20Record%20of%20the%20Canadian%20Cancer%20Society.pdf

The CCS factum (written argument) can be seen here:

https://documentcentre.eycan.com/eycm_library/19/English/Motion%20Materials/006.%20Motion%20Record%20Stay%20Extension,%20returnable%20October%202,%202019/Factum%20of%20the%20Canadian%20Cancer%20Society.pdf

UPDATE  – OCTOBER 7, 2019

Justice McEwen of Ontario Superior Court issued two decisions following the October 2, 2019 court hearing in the tobacco company creditor protection proceedings.  The decisions are short, with reasons for judgment to follow at a later date.

It is through the creditor protection process that tobacco companies are seeking to achieve a global settlement of all tobacco lawsuits in Canada.

The Court extended the creditor protection for tobacco companies to March 12, 2020.  This means that the stay – the suspension of lawsuits against the tobacco industry from moving forward – is extended to this date.  The Court had indicated yesterday at the hearing that the stay would be extended, but the issue was whether the date would be Jan. 15, 2020 or March 12, 2020.

At the hearing, the Canadian Cancer Society had a motion to continue to participate in the proceedings before the Court, and to participate in the mediation process taking place outside of Court.  (CCS had been appearing at previous court appearances, but at the June 26, 2019 hearing the Court indicated that CCS would need to bring a motion and file materials to explain its interest to participate further.)  The mediation process is being led by former Chief Justice of Ontario Warren Winkler.  There is a “plenary” meeting in the mediation process to take place Oct. 8, 2019, but no other details are publicly available.

The CCS motion was supported by the three class action groups:  the Quebec tobacco class actions; the BC class action for “light” cigarettes; and the grouping of tobacco class actions in other provinces.

The 10 provincial governments took no position on the motion of CCS.

In written materials filed with the Court, there were letters from 17 health organizations supporting CCS participation

The Monitors for each of the three tobacco companies provided arguments against CCS participation.  (The Monitors have a role in creditor protection proceedings.  The Monitors are Ernst & Young (for Rothmans, Benson & Hedges); Deloitte (for JTI-Macdonald); and FTI Consulting (for Imperial Tobacco).

In the decision released today, Oct. 3, the Court authorized CCS to participate in the proceedings before the Court.  However, CCS was not authorized to participate in the mediation process “at this time”.

Here is the full text of the decision on the CCS motion: “For reasons to soon follow, CCS is permitted to participate in these CCAA proceedings subject to the conditions that will be set out in the reasons.  CCS is not permitted to participate in the mediation process at this time.”

The decisions of the Court dated Oct. 3, 2019 can be seen here (full reasons to follow at a later date):

https://documentcentre.eycan.com/eycm_library/19/English/Court%20Orders/011.%20Stay%20Extension%20Order,%20dated%20October%202,%202019/In%20The%20Matter%20of%20the%20Companies’%20Creditors%20Arrangement%20Act%20R.S.C.%201985%20c.%20C-36%20As%20Amended%20(JTI-MACDONALD%20CORP%20IMPERIAL%20TOBACCO%20ROTH~1%20(002).pdf

The Canadian Cancer Society notice of motion and affidavit can be seen here:

https://documentcentre.eycan.com/eycm_library/19/English/Motion%20Materials/006.%20Motion%20Record%20Stay%20Extension,%20returnable%20October%202,%202019/Responding%20Motion%20Record%20of%20the%20Canadian%20Cancer%20Society.pdf

The CCS factum (written argument) can be seen here:

https://documentcentre.eycan.com/eycm_library/19/English/Motion%20Materials/006.%20Motion%20Record%20Stay%20Extension,%20returnable%20October%202,%202019/Factum%20of%20the%20Canadian%20Cancer%20Society.pdf

Related News Releases (in order of date – January 2019 to present)  

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