Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador class action against Imperial Tobacco rejected..

Newfoundland and Labrador Flag..
March 26, 2010 - The Newfoundland and Labrador court of appeal has ruled that a class action lawsuit claiming Imperial Tobacco used deceptive marketing cannot be pursued.

The suit argued that Imperial Tobacco incorrectly presented light and mild cigarettes as a healthy alternative to normal cigarettes.

But the court said consumers can't sue a manufacturer.

"Our [Newfoundland and Labrador] trade practices act, which is supposed to protect consumers, requires that you must be in a direct relationship, what lawyers called privity (a legally recognized relationship existing between two parties), with the person that you want to use that act to assist you to sue and that includes manufacturers," said Ches Crosbie, the lawyer leading the proposed class action suit.

“Our consumer law is the only law in the country that gives consumers no remedy against the manufacturer,” said class action lawyer Ches Crosbie. Crosbie said Wednesday, March 24th that the privity requirement doesn't exist in other provinces.

British Columbia (BC) was the first province to launch legal action against the tobacco companies. Their lawsuit was filed in 2001 to recover billions of dollars allegedly spent by the health-care system for treating “smoking-related disease”.
Since the BC lawsuit was filed, six other provinces, Ontario, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Manitoba, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan, have jumped aboard the bandwagon and have passed, or are in the process of passing, legislation that will allow similar legal action in their respective jurisdictions. (Does conflict of interest jeopardize public health..,, 3/23/2010)

Imperial Tobacco is facing a similar lawsuit in British Columbia.

References: Class action against Imperial Tobacco rejected, CBC News, 3/24/2010; Appeal court nixes class action against Imperial Tobacco, The Telegram, 3/23/2010.

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