Tobacco giants vow to fight Canadian judgment handing $15 billion to smokers

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After what is believed to be the largest class-action lawsuit ever seen in Canada, three tobacco companies are appealing a ruling described as “historic” by a Canadian court. It awarded smokers $15 billion in damages.

Quebec superior court justice Brian Riordan said the companies had put profits before the health of their customers, in his ruling on this 17-year long legal battle.

The Quebec Council on Tobacco and Health says 918, 218 Quebecers qualified under one case (Letourneau’s action), while 99, 957 qualified under a second (Blais’s case).

The case saw 78 witnesses testify over 234 days, as well as several weeks of final arguments.

“All provinces have passed laws that allow them to go after so-called Big Tobacco for health-care costs stemming from smoking-related disease and most have filed legal actions to that effect”, Canadian media reports.

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