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CP: Saskatchewan government’s lawsuit against tobacco companies can proceed

Tobacco companies, gunning for their best business interests, do their best to ignore the health problems caused by the consumption of their products. Now, however, governments look to make them take responsibility: in Canada, state governments press for tobacco companies to pay for healthcare for diseases caused by their products.

from the Canadian Press:

A Saskatchewan judge has ruled the provincial government’s lawsuit against tobacco companies can proceed.

The province is suing ten tobacco companies, trying to recoup health care costs from diseases related to the sale and use of their products.

Six of the companies filed an application to dismiss the suit against them, saying that because they’re foreign companies the court has no jurisdiction over them.

According to court documents, the companies were trying to argue that there was only a tenuous connection between them and their alleged activities in Saskatchewan.

The companies also argued any decision would be unenforceable in foreign jurisdictions.

But on Oct. 1, a Court of Queen’s Bench judge dismissed the application, citing similar lawsuits in B.C., New Brunswick and Ontario.

Judge rules lawsuit filed by Saskatchewan government against tobacco companies to recoup costs for health care costs can proceed. (Canadian Press/Geoff Robins/AFP/Getty Images)

Tobacco companies were sued for similar reasons in those provinces and tried to dismiss the suits for jurisdictional reasons, but in all three cases judges denied the applications.

The six companies – B.A.T Industries, British American Tobacco, British American Tobacco Investments Ltd., R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., R.J. Reynolds Tobacco International Inc., and Carreras Rothmans Ltd. – have already filed a leave to appeal this latest decision.

17 Oct 2013

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