Vice Squad
Saturday, February 07, 2004
Canadian Suit Against Big Tobacco Suffers Setback

An Ontario judge ruled against the attempt to achieve class-action status in a nine-year-old lawsuit against three tobacco companies. From an article in the Toronto Star:

"Justice Warren Winkler of the Ontario Superior Court said the multi-million dollar lawsuit, which accused Canada's three major tobacco makers of conspiring to hide the dangers of smoking, did not meet the legal test for class-action certification.

The plaintiffs appear to have little in common except they smoked, Winkler said in his 22-page decision."

Vice Squad, only nine years late, first mentioned the lawsuit a few weeks ago.

[Update: Here's a Reuters story with an interesting quote from the opinion:

"'Even if the defendants were to only contest a portion of the individual claims, and each dispute could be concluded in one day, simple mathematics indicate that such a process would require the equivalent of 1,000 years of litigation, if it were to be conducted sequentially,' said Justice Warren Winkler in his 22-page written decision." Do you think anyone in the courtroom thought that the prospect of 1,000 years of litigation was a reason to certify the class action?]

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