The tobacco compagnies’ appeal of the judgment on May 27, 2015 ordering them to pay $15 billion to the victims cited in the Blais/CQTS class action will be heard by the Quebec court of Appeal in November 2016. Court of Appeal judges will then take up to six months to render their decision, which could then be appealed in the Supreme Court.
In addition, as part of the Court of Appeal’s judgment on October 28, 2015, Imperial Tobacco and Rothmans, Benson & Hedges have begun to pay the Court registrar security deposits that will total $984 million by the end of this proceeding, which represents part of the indemnity claimed from tobacco manufacturers. These sums serve to guarantee compensation for the victims of the class action in the event that the judgment in their favour is upheld in appeal.
On October 27th, the Quebec Court of Appeal ruled in favour of the plaintiffs (tobacco victims) in the class actions by ordering two tobacco companies to pay a guarantee deposit of $984 million while waiting for the courts to rule on the merits of the case. “We’re satisfied with the decision handed down by the Honourable Mark Schrager, who has recognized the victims’ right to compensation. The Court of Appeal has recognized that it is unacceptable to allow the tobacco companies to transfer abroad the hundreds of millions in profits they record each year, which made them unable to pay an eventual compensation to the 100,000 Quebec victims concerned,” said a delighted Mario Bujold, executive director of the Québec Council on Tobacco and Health, the organization that secured a monetary condemnation of $15 billion against the tobacco manufacturers in May 2015.
The court sentenced Imperial Tobacco and Rothmans, Benson & Hedges to pay the registrar of the Court guarantee deposits of $758 million and $226 million, respectively, which may be paid in six equal quarterly instalments, starting in December 2015.
This decision comes after the class actions, on appeal last July, lost their request for a provisional execution sentencing the companies to pay $1 billion of the $15 billion awarded under the Superior Court ruling. “This is an important moral victory, one that will allow us, eventually, to recover in full the sum awarded under the ruling on May 27, 2015. We can now be certain that the victims will receive compensation,” added Mr. Bujold.