Tobacco companies suffered a second legal setback in less than a month after the Quebec Court of Appeal ordered two cigarette makers to set aside nearly $1 billion in security, the largest ever in the province’s history, to ensure that money is available to pay victims who won a landmark $15.5 billion class action lawsuit earlier this year.
In a ruling that clarifies the exceptional circumstances under which securities can be ordered, the appeal court ordered Imperial Tobacco Canada Ltd. to pay $758 million in seven quarterly instalments and Rothmans, Benson & Hedges Inc. $226 million in six quarterly instalments, beginning in December until next year. If the tobacco manufacturers are successful in having the $15.5 billion judgement overturned on appeal, the security will be returned to them. If not, it will be available for distribution to victims who launched the class action suit. (A motion for security was not sought against JTI-MacDonald Corp. because one of the lawyers became ill).