Battaglia vs. Imperial
Tobacco et al.

 

June 12, 1997: 
Joe Battaglia files an action in the Ontario Small claims Court against RBH, Imperial Tobacco and RJR/JTI MacDonald. All three companies introduced a motion to dismiss the case on the basis of prescription "(that the action was filed too late given his admitted awareness of the health dangers of tobacco, which came out in discovery. ... He recently brought amendments to his proceedings to allege this new condition and strangely enough (since he was a former employee of RBH) he dropped his action against RBH Canada and JTI Macdonald Inc and is now proceeding only with his action against Imperial Tobacco Canada Ltd." (BAT doc page 322006640)

May 26, 1999:
 
Pre-trial appearance before Judge Godfrey.  "Defendants sought to bring a motion for summary judgement at this time, alleging that the plaintiff's claims were statue-barred. The plaintiff sought and obtained an adjournment of this motion until a date to be fixed by the court." (BAT p. 321711342)

April 3, 2000: 
Ontario Small Claims Court judge orders a trial to hear Joseph Battaglia's claim against Imperial Tobacco Canada ltd.  for damages resulting from his smoking Matinee cigarettes.

This is the first time ever an individual has won the right to take a tobacco giant to trial.

June 2000:  
Imperial Tobacco rejects an offer to settle the claim with an apology.

November 20-28, 2000:  
The case is heard in North York Small Claims Court before Justice Pamela Thompson. 

June 1, 2001:  
Justice Thompson rules against the claim.

July 23, 2001: 
Joe Battaglia files an appeal, but is no longer represented by counsel.

September 3, 2004: 
Joe Battaglia dies of a heart attack.

Battaglia- Media Coverage (Extracts)


 

Former tobacco official gets day in court: Lawsuit against cigarette company sent to trial:[Final Edition]

Sudbury Star. Sudbury, Ont.:Apr 3, 2000. p. A1 / FRONT

TORONTO (CP) -- A former cigarette company executive has won the right to sue a tobacco company in court over the damaging effects of smoking.

Joseph Battaglia's case against Imperial Tobacco was ordered to trial Friday by Judge M.D. Godfrey after a hearing in a small claims court in Toronto.

"I was ecstatic," Battaglia said Sunday. "We've got them. We've won. We are now going to get our day in court."

The move was applauded by anti-smoking groups, which say senior Imperial executives may now be forced to testify.

...

Michel Descoteaux, an Imperial spokesman, said their lawyers would defend their case if it proceeds to trial.

Battaglia is asking for $6,000 in damages. The two sides will meet April 22 to attempt to set a trial date.


Smoker battles tobacco giant ; Wins right to civil suit in small claims court:[1 Edition]

Kerry Gillespie. Toronto Star. Toronto, Ont.:Apr 4, 2000. p. 1

Full Text (656 words)
Copyright 2000 Toronto Star, All Rights Reserved.

A man who calls himself just an average Joe has won the right to take Canada's largest cigarette company to court - small claims court, that is.

It's the only place where citizens can fight the big bullies, Joseph Battaglia says.

But even there it hasn't been easy.

After nearly three years, a North York small claims court finally granted Battaglia the right to take his civil suit against Imperial Tobacco - which holds 70 per cent of the Canadian market - to trial.

....

"They were my family. I worked for them. I defended them with my family, my kids and my friends. Whenever they would tell me to stop smoking (because of health risks) I was the first one to say that's a lot of propaganda."

It all changed for him in 1997 when he learned of litigation between American states and the tobacco industry, which claimed tobacco companies knew nicotine was addictive and were manipulating the levels.

"I got mad. Really really mad," he said. "I always thought it was my fault I couldn't quit, that I didn't have the willpower, but then I realized it was their fault."

He alleges that Imperial Tobacco deliberately designed their Matinee Extra Mild King Size and Matinee Extra Mild Super Slims with small holes near the filter which "cheat" the government smoking machines. He alleges this results in the delivery of more toxic tar and addictive nicotine than the label claims.

While the fight is a personal one for Battaglia, others are hoping his suit will lead to bigger things.

 


Individual Smoker Wins Right To Sue Imperial Tobacco Canada AM - CTV Television.

Toronto: Apr 4, 2000.

Full Text (753 words) Copyright CTV Television Network Ltd. Apr 4, 2000

HOST: Dan Matheson

GUEST: Joseph Battaglia, Suing Imperial Tobacco; Douglas Lennox, Lawyer for Joseph Battaglia

MATHESON: There's another very significant lawsuit making news today. For the first time ever in this country an individual has won the right to take a tobacco giant to trial. Joseph Battaglia is suing Imperial Tobacco. He joins us this morning along with his lawyer Douglas Lennox.

Good morning, gentlemen.

BOTH: Good morning.

MATHESON: Can we start at the beginning? What's the genesis of this suit?

BATTAGLIA: For a long time I really thought it was own personal weakness that I wasn't able to quit smoking cigarettes. I made a very concentrated effort to quit about seven or eight years ago. And I decided to switch from cigarettes that on the side of the package is indicated how much nicotine was in each box. So I gradually decreased the amount of nicotine that I was taking by changing brands from say from 14 to ten, down to eight. And eventually I came across this product that seemed to satisfy almost everything that I wanted and had a very low rating. It was four milligrams of tar and four milligrams of nicotine. It was a 100- millimetre cigarette, it had good value and if it said four and four that's the lowest I've ever smoked so now it might now be easier for me to quit because how I weaned myself off the nicotine craving.

Well, little did I know that that four on that package really represented a much larger number. And that's happened through the manipulation of the nicotine levels. And I feel that my efforts to quit have been sabotaged by the tobacco industry by injecting more nicotine or giving more of the addictive ingredient in cigarettes which then puts me in line for any diseases that are supposed to be associated with smoking cigarettes. I'm not saying that I have cancer, I'm not saying that I'm sick or dying, even though I may have contracted in the last few months heart disease. That's not my issue. It wasn't there three years ago, it's not there now. It's that I tried to quit to save my own self. And they had no care for my welfare. And then I said this is not my fault anymore. I've tried --

MATHESON: Why Imperial? Why do you go after them?

BATTAGLIA: It was the product I was smoking. That's not the only product out on the market.

MATHESON: First time an individual has been allowed, given the go-ahead. Were you surprised by this ruling?

LENNOX: Floored, actually.

MATHESON: Why?

LENNOX: These guys, they never lose. They've got their army of lawyers, they beat the BC government, they beat the federal government, they've beat everyone that's ever tried to take them on in Canada. Joe got the decision, he faxed it over to me. He said call me when you get up off the floor.

MATHESON: So what was successful for you? What worked?

BATTAGLIA: It made sense. It made sense. It's a formula that makes sense. If one and one equals two it shouldn't equal evil. And that's what they've done. One, everybody knows that nicotine is addictive. Everybody, including tobacco companies. The other one: everyone knows that if you smoke a cigarette or smoke cigarettes you're susceptible to getting the disease that could kill you. Everyone knows that, including the tobacco companies know that. So that should equal two. But it doesn't, it equals evil.

What did they do? They didn't try to make a safer cigarette, they took the nicotine and made it a nicotine delivery system. Tobacco isn't in the formula anymore. It's just science, it's chemicals. Remember the ads used to say "the best tobacco money can buy and look how beautiful my golden leaf is and --"?

MATHESON: Yeah.

...

 


Cigarette firm stays in court rather than apologize and pay $1

Gay Abbate. The Globe and Mail. Toronto, Ont.:Jun 15, 2000. p. A.3

Full Text (497 words) All material copyright Bell Globemedia Publishing Inc. or its licensors. All rights reserved.

Man suing Imperial Tobacco over health risks of 'mild' cigarettes

A case in small-claims court that Imperial Tobacco Ltd. could have settled for $1 and an apology will now lead to a costly trial in November.

The company has had numerous opportunities to resolve the three-year-old civil suit that alleges Imperial misled the public and failed to warn smokers about the health risks of its so-called "mild" cigarettes.

Yesterday, a week after the head of Imperial admitted to a Senate committee that cigarettes are addictive and dangerous, the company remained resolute that it would not settle. It opted instead to continue spending thousands of dollars for a trial that is expected to last about two weeks.

....

In February, Mr. Battaglia offered to settle the lawsuit for $1 and a letter from Imperial apologizing for withholding vital information about health risks and for its efforts to mislead the public through its development and marketing of "low-tar" cigarettes.

In its statement of defence, Imperial Tobacco rejected Mr. Battaglia's allegations and denied "that it is now or has ever been involved in any conspiracy as alleged, or otherwise."

The same document denies that Mr. Battaglia is addicted to nicotine, as he claims, and states "that millions of smokers quit every year."

 


Suit against Imperial Tobacco to go to trial; company rejects offer of settlement

Canadian Press NewsWire. Toronto:Jun 15, 2000. 

Full Text (567 words)
Copyright Canadian Press Jun 15, 2000

TORONTO (CP) - A case in small claims court that Imperial Tobacco Ltd. could have settled for $1 and an apology will now lead to a costly trial in November.

The company has had numerous opportunities to resolve the three-year-old civil suit that alleges Imperial misled the public and failed to warn smokers about the health risks of its so-called "mild" cigarettes.

On Wednesday, a week after the head of Imperial admitted to a Senate committee that cigarettes are addictive and dangerous, the company remained resolute that it would not settle.

"Small-claims court is supposed to be quick," a frustrated Joseph Battaglia said after yesterday's short court appearance.

....


Mild cigarettes deceptively dangerous, charges lawsuit against big tobacco

Canadian Press NewsWire. Toronto:Nov 20, 2000.

Full Text (485 words)
Copyright Canadian Press Nov 20, 2000

Joseph Battaglia, 59, alleges that Imperial misled the public and failed to warn smokers about the risks of so-called mild cigarettes.

Battaglia filed his suit in small claims court three years ago because proceedings there are generally quick and inexpensive.

"Joe can't afford to sue big tobacco, nobody can," said Douglas Lennox, a lawyer with Toronto's Rochon Geneva who stepped in to represent Battaglia free of charge after the case had dragged on for two years.

Battaglia is seeking $6,000 in damages, the maximum allowable in small claims court. He also wants Imperial to be honest about the risk of its product and "devote considerable resources to developing safer cigarettes."

....


Smoker accuses tobacco firm of deception ; Suing after he developed heart disease:[Ontario Edition]

Peter Small. Toronto Star. Toronto, Ont.:Nov 21, 2000. p. A26

Joseph Battaglia says he was fooled for years by the packaging on his Matinee Extra Milds into believing he was smoking a safer cigarette that might help him quit, a court has been told.

Now the 59-year-old Toronto man is suing Imperial Tobacco Ltd. for $6,000 in general damages in small claims court, saying he developed coronary heart disease as a result of smoking the cigarettes.

"It's about a consumer that didn't get what he thought he was getting and it's about a manufacturer who denies any liability for what appears on its package," Doug Lennox, Battaglia's lawyer, said in his opening statement yesterday.

Battaglia is also seeking reimbursement of the $4 a day he estimates he spent on Matinee Extra Mild King Size and Matinee Extra Mild Super Slims 100.

Battaglia claims he inhaled 650 per cent more tar, 560 per cent more nicotine and 546 per cent more carbon monoxide than was stated on the packages. The packages read 4 milligrams of tar, 0.4 milligrams of nicotine and 5 milligrams of carbon monoxide per cigarette.

"He was attracted to this label because he wanted to quit or at least reduce the risk," Lennox told Madame Justice Pamela Thompson in North York Small Claims Court.

Battaglia, a paralegal, still smokes about a pack a day despite trying to quit.

.....


Safer smokes stifled, court is told ; Company's former boss says U.K. owner frustrated ambitions:

Ontario Edition] Peter Small. Toronto Star. Toronto, Ont.:Nov 23, 2000. p. A15

Full Text (572 words) Copyright 2000 Toronto Star, All Rights Reserved.

British American Tobacco resisted efforts by its Canadian subsidiary, Imasco, to develop a safer cigarette in the 1980s, Imasco's former chief executive testified yesterday.

Purdy Crawford said although the Imasco board was very keen to develop the safer cigarette, it was disappointed it wasn't able to convince its minority owner, British American Tobacco (BAT) of London, to lend its support and expertise to the project.

Crawford told a North York small claims court yesterday that Jean Louis Mercier, then chief executive of Imasco-owned Imperial Tobacco Canada Ltd., "was frustrated in dealing with his contemporaries at BAT."

"He was crestfallen, as I recall."

Crawford, Imasco's chief executive from 1986 to 1995, was subpoenaed as a witness by Joseph

.....

 


British American Tobacco refused to help research safer cigarette, court told

Canadian Press NewsWire. Toronto:Nov 22, 2000.

Full Text (359 words) Copyright Canadian Press Nov 22, 2000

TORONTO (CP) - British American Tobacco resisted efforts by its Canadian subsidiary, Imasco, to develop a safer cigarette in the 1980s, Imasco's former chief executive testified Wednesday.

Purdy Crawford said although the Imasco board was very keen to develop the safer cigarette, it was disappointed it wasn't able to convince its minority owner, BAT, to lend its support and expertise to the project.

Jean Louis Mercier, then-chief executive of Imasco-owned Imperial Tobacco Canada Ltd., "was frustrated in dealing with his contemporaries at BAT," Crawford told a small claims court Wednesday.

"(Mercier) was crestfallen, as I recall."

Crawford - Imasco's CEO from 1986 to 1995 - was subpoenaed as a witness by Joseph Battaglia, 59, who is suing Imperial Tobacco for $6,000 in small claims court.

Battaglia claims the Matinee Extra Mild cigarettes he smoked were designed with tiny vents in the filter to fool him and authorities into thinking they delivered much less tar and nicotine than they actually did.

...


Ex-smoke salesman slams nicotine 'manipulation' ; 'Mild' brand wasn't, man alleges in suit:[Ontario Edition]

Peter Small. Toronto Star. Toronto, Ont.:Nov 22, 2000. p. A27

When Joseph Battaglia started smoking Matinee Extra Milds in 1994, he thought the low tar and nicotine levels stated on their packs would help him quit, yet he was pleased they seemed to answer his nicotine cravings.

"They gave me a satisfaction. They surprised me," he testified yesterday.

But the former cigarette salesman said he was furious when he found out a few years later the toxin levels he was inhaling were likely much higher.

"They were manipulating the nicotine levels," he testified, calling it "a manipulation of my addiction."

In a trial closely watched by the tobacco industry and anti- smoking groups, Battaglia, 59, is suing Imperial Tobacco Canada Ltd. for $6,000 in damages in small claims court, alleging the company designed a cigarette with minuscule holes on the side to give a false low reading in tests.

"It's the cigarette of the guy who wants to quit. That's why it's so successful," the Toronto paralegal said.

Battaglia demonstrated for his lawyer, Doug Lennox, how he puffs and holds a cigarette, covering with his mouth or fingers the tiny holes that would have weakened the smoke's concentration if left exposed to the air.

...


'Elastic' cigarettes studied, official says ; But testifies more potent product wouldn't be sold: [Ontario Edition]

Peter Small. Toronto Star. Toronto, Ont.:Nov 24, 2000. p. A30

Imperial Tobacco Canada has done research into "elastic" cigarettes that deliver a relatively high tar and nicotine hit when puffed harder, but it would never try to sell them, a top company official says.

"It was to find out what consumers are looking for in their product," Donald Brown, chairman and former chief executive of Imperial Tobacco Canada, said yesterday.

Brown was testifying in a North York court at the first case ever brought to trial against a tobacco company in Ontario. It's being watched closely by anti-smoking groups and Health Canada.

Joseph Battaglia, 59, of Toronto, is suing Imperial, alleging that the Matinee Extra Milds he smoked for six years were secretly designed to deliver more nicotine and toxins than the packages indicated.

Yesterday, Stewart Massey, Imperial's director of scientific affairs, testified that the research on cigarette "elasticity" was conducted only in 1993 on foreign products and hasn't been looked at since.

Brown testified that Imperial Tobacco Canada is developing a safer cigarette.

"We have been able to reduce 50 to 75 per cent of a number of smoke constituents. I don't think we have a product yet that would be strongly accepted on the market, but we are making progress."

At the urging of tobacco companies and at considerable expense, Canada's tobacco farmers have agreed by 2001 to cure their product a new way that will cut nitrosamines, Brown added.

Nitrosamines are the most active cancer-causing agent in tobacco smoke.

In his $6,000 small claims court lawsuit, Battaglia says Imperial Tobacco put minuscule vents in the Matinee Extra Mild filters with the purpose of producing falsely low tar and nicotine readings on tests.

...

Albert Liston, a consultant who once headed Health Canada's health protection branch, told the court he doesn't agree that it will be useful to have new mandatory markings on packages showing a range of possible tar and nicotine dosages that take into account such things as vent blockages. The markings will be mandatory late next month.

Under questioning from Lennox, Liston said he was being paid $1,600 a day over four days by Imperial Tobacco to attend and testify at the civil trial.

[Illustration] Caption: SMOKING GUN?: A lawsuit by Joseph Battaglia, left, brought Imperial Tobacco Canada official Donald Brown to the witness stand yesterday.

Credit: STAFF REPORTER


Anyone can quit smoking, trial told ; Cigarette company's witness says tobacco not truly addictive:[Ontario Edition]

Peter Small. Toronto Star. Toronto, Ont.:Nov 28, 2000. p. A24

Full Text (481 words) Copyright 2000 Toronto Star, All Rights Reserved.

A U.S. expert on substance abuse testifying for Imperial Tobacco Canada says cigarettes are not truly addictive and anyone can quit if they're motivated.

The word addiction is no longer employed in a medical context because it's overused and applied in society to such behaviour as eating chocolates and watching bad movies, testified Dr. Harvey Hammer, chair of the department of psychiatry at Morristown Memorial Hospital in New Jersey.

"The implication is the person has no choice, that a person has no free will," Hammer told a North York small claims court yesterday.

Hammer was testifying in the lawsuit launched by former tobacco salesman Joseph Battaglia, 59.

He is suing Imperial Tobacco Canada for $6,000, claiming the Matinee Extra Milds he smoked for six years delivered far higher tar and nicotine than their packages stated, keeping him hooked.

He alleges Imperial Tobacco Canada knew smokers would inadvertently cover minuscule vents in the side of filters, preventing them from drawing in air to dilute tobacco smoke.

Hammer, who confirmed he is being paid his usual rate of $7,500 (U.S.) a day over two days for attending and testifying, said the term substance dependency is preferable to addiction.

....


Tobacco firm knew danger, court told:[Ontario Edition]

Peter Small. Toronto Star. Toronto, Ont.:Nov 29, 2000. p. A36

Full Text (263 words) Copyright 2000 Toronto Star, All Rights Reserved.

Imperial Tobacco Canada is trying to shift the blame to the federal government and smokers for its failure to warn them that mild cigarettes aren't necessarily safer, a court was told.

"If you are going to sell a product that causes disease . . . before someone lies in a hospital bed, sick, you have got to give them all the information," Doug Lennox, lawyer for Joseph Battaglia, said in closing statements.

Battaglia claims in his suit the Matinee Extra Milds he smoked for years had more tar and nicotine than stated on the package.

The 59-year-old Toronto paralegal is suing Imperial Tobacco for $6,000, the maximum allowed in small claims court.

Battaglia said the company knew smokers would inadvertently cover tiny ventilation holes in the filters, increasing the tar and nicotine dosage, by up to six times. But Imperial Tobacco says tar and nicotine levels posted on packages complied with government rules, and the firm did not try to deceive anyone.

Battaglia was hooked on cigarettes long before he picked up Matinee Extra Milds in 1994, already had heart disease and had ignored warnings to quit smoking in 1991, said Imperial lawyer Lyndon Barnes.

....

 


Cigarette company shifting blame to government, smokers in Toronto court case

Canadian Press NewsWire. Toronto:Nov 29, 2000.

Full Text (352 words) Copyright Canadian Press Nov 29, 2000

TORONTO (CP) - Imperial Tobacco Canada is trying to shift the blame to the federal government and smokers for its failure to warn that mild cigarettes aren't necessarily safer, a court was told Tuesday.

"If you are going to sell a product that causes disease . . . before someone lies in a hospital bed sick you have got to give them all the information," lawyer Doug Lennox said in his closing statement.

Joseph Battaglia claims the Matinee Extra Milds he smoked for six years packed a far higher tar and nicotine punch than stated on the package.

In the first case against a tobacco company ever to go to court in Ontario, and the second in Canada, the 59-year-old is suing Imperial Tobacco for $6,000, the maximum allowed in small claims court.

....


Tobacco case ruling expected today:[Ontario Edition]

 Peter Small. Toronto Star. Toronto, Ont.:Jun 5, 2001. p. B04

Full Text (399 words) Copyright 2001 Toronto Star, All Rights Reserved.

A judge will rule today on a Toronto man's fight against Canada's largest tobacco company, in a case closely followed by governments and anti-smoking groups.

Joe Battaglia, 59, a former cigarette salesperson, is optimistic he'll win his lawsuit against Imperial Tobacco Canada, which claims 70 per cent of the market.

It's the first case brought to trial against a tobacco company in Ontario.

"I'm very excited," Battaglia said in a recent interview. "I feel very fortunate that I have an opportunity to make a difference in this world."

Battaglia alleges the Matinee Extra Mild cigarettes he smoked for six years were secretly designed to deliver more nicotine and toxins than the packages indicated.

He claims the company knew smokers would inadvertently cover tiny ventilation holes in the filters, thus increasing the tar and nicotine dosage up to six times.

"These cigarettes were designed to sabotage my attempts to quit," he said.

Imperial Tobacco says tar and nicotine levels posted on packages complied with government rules and that the firm did not try to deceive anyone.

Imperial Tobacco spokesperson Michel Descoteaux said Friday the company is taking Battaglia's lawsuit very seriously. The tobacco industry has never lost a case in Canada, he said.

Battaglia is suing for $6,000, the maximum allowed in small claims court.

...


Toronto smoker loses court fight against cigarette giant Imperial Tobacco Pacienza, Angela. Canadian Press

NewsWire. Toronto:Jun 5, 2001.

Full Text (650 words) Copyright Canadian Press Jun 5, 2001

TORONTO (CP) - An Ontario smoker who got heart disease despite switching to "mild" cigarettes was unsuccessful Tuesday in claiming damages from Canada's largest tobacco company.

A small-claims court judge ruled 59-year-old Joe Battaglia had only himself to blame for his smoking habit, and failed to find Imperial Tobacco responsible.

"The plaintiff is the only one who has control over how he smokes," Justice Pamela Thomson said in her decision. "The only thing he could have done was quit."

Battaglia had alleged that the Matinee Extra Mild cigarettes he smoked for six years, after smoking "stronger" brands for decades, were secretly designed to deliver more nicotine and toxins than the packages indicated.

He sought $6,000, the maximum allowed in small claims court, from Imperial in the first case brought to trial against a tobacco company in Ontario.

"It's over," the obviously disappointed man said outside court.

"I really thought I was going to make a difference."

Battaglia, who continues to smoke, claimed Imperial knew smokers' fingers and lips would inadvertently cover tiny ventilation holes around the filters, thus increasing the tar and nicotine levels listed on the package by up to six times.

...

"Even in losing I think Joe can claim moral victory," said Neil Collishaw, of Physicians For a Smoke-Free Canada, suggesting tar and nicotine levels listed on cigarette packages are now a matter of public debate.

"There's now a lot of information on the public record that can be studied and people can figure out ways that we're going to call the tobacco industry into account in the future."

Federal Health Minister Allan Rock has already called on cigarette manufacturers to stop using terms such as "light," "mild" and "ultra-light," given the mounting evidence that low-tar brands cause just as many illnesses and death as the regular brands.

Rock has threatened regulatory action if tobacco firms won't voluntarily drop the labels.

Health Canada had no immediate reaction to Tuesday's events.

Ottawa intends to change the way tar and nicotine levels are listed on cigarette packages, indicating the possible range of levels instead of the average level listed currently.

 


Smoker's lawsuit snuffed ; Imperial Tobacco not liable for man's habit or poor health: [Ontario Edition]

 Peter Small. Toronto Star. Toronto, Ont.:Jun 6, 2001. p. A18

Full Text (382 words)
Copyright 2001 Toronto Star, All Rights Reserved.

A Toronto man has lost his lawsuit against Canada's largest tobacco company over the "mild" cigarettes he claimed are secretly designed to prevent him from quitting.

Joe Battaglia's $6,000 small claims court case against Imperial Tobacco Canada was dismissed by Madam Justice Pamela Thomson yesterday.

"The plaintiff is the only one who has control over whether he'll smoke or not," Thomson said. "Common sense is common sense."

It was only the second case against a tobacco company to make it to trial in Canada. Imperial Tobacco also won the first, a small claims case in Quebec in 1997.

Battaglia, a former cigarette salesman, alleged the Matinee Extra Mild cigarettes he smoked for six years were secretly designed to deliver more nicotine and toxins than the packages indicated. He claimed to have developed heart disease from smoking.

He claimed the company knew smokers would inadvertently cover tiny ventilation holes in the filters, thus increasing the tar and nicotine dosage up to six times what was posted.

Imperial Tobacco argued tar and nicotine levels written on packages met government rules and that the firm did not try to deceive anyone.

The judge said yesterday that Imperial Tobacco had in fact misrepresented what is meant by the "average" numbers posted on its packages, since the numbers were generated by smoking machines, not actual smokers.

But there was no evidence that Battaglia's heart disease was affected by the cigarettes, she said. In fact, his condition stabilized in 1999.

...


Toronto:[Ontario Edition]

Toronto Star. Toronto, Ont.:Jul 23, 2001. p. B04

A former cigarette salesman is appealing his unsuccessful lawsuit against Canada's largest tobacco company. Joe Battaglia, 60, alleged the Matinee Extra Mild cigarettes he smoked for six years were secretly designed by Imperial Tobacco Canada to prevent him from quitting. Last month a judge dismissed his $6,000 small claims suit. Battaglia claimed to have developed heart disease from smoking. Imperial Tobacco argued tar and nicotine levels written on packages met government rules and that the firm did not try to deceive anyone. The judge ruled that Imperial Tobacco had misrepresented what is meant by the "average" numbers posted on its packages. But there was no evidence that Battaglia's heart disease was affected by the cigarettes, she said.


Press release from Joe Battaglia - July 21, 2001.


Former tobacco seller battled cigarette giant:[ONT Edition]

Philip Mascoll. Toronto Star. Toronto, Ont.:Sep 7, 2004. p. B02

Joseph Battaglia met everything in life head on, his son says.

And that is why the former tobacco salesperson wasn't afraid to face down Canada's largest tobacco company in hopes of proving the Matinee Extra Mild cigarettes he smoked for six years were secretly designed to prevent him from quitting.

Mr. Battaglia, 63, died Friday night after suffering a heart attack while he walked to a corner store near his apartment, his son Tony said.

His suit against Imperial Tobacco Canada was the first of its kind in Canada, and not about money, his son said.

"The issue was that the public was being misled, not money," Tony Battaglia said.

"The suit was just a small segment of a full and successful life. He was an excellent salesman. Selling was his thing."

Born in Toronto, Mr. Battaglia started in the tobacco business at Rothmans as an office boy at age 16, his son said.

By the time he left the company, he was a cigarette brand sales manager and had travelled - in his early 20s - as far as Africa to introduce products on that continent.

After leaving the tobacco business, he went into real estate. Between 1975 and 1985, he built and ran a chain of arcades and record stores in Northern Ontario, his son said.

After selling his interest in the arcades, he sold prefabricated homes in Barrie before joining his son Tony in 1987 in an agency that fights traffic tickets in court.

The case that catapulted Mr. Battaglia into prominence is still before the appeal courts, his son said. In 2001, a judge dismissed Mr. Battaglia's $6,000 small-claims suit, in which he claimed to have developed heart disease from smoking.

Mr. Battaglia had two other children, Darick and Elizabeth, as well as six grandchildren.

Tony Battaglia said his father played golf and was, in his youth, a superb hockey goalie for St. Mike's school in Toronto.

Visitation is at the Ward Funeral Home, 4671 Highway 7 in Woodbridge, from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. today. The service is at 11 a.m. tomorrow at the funeral home's chapel.

[Illustration] Joseph Battaglia, who died Friday at age 63, took Imperial Tobacco Canada to court.

Credit: Toronto Star

 

 

 



PSC - HOME

 

Litigation sub-site home

   

Timeline of tobacco litigation 
 

Canada

 

 


Class Actions - current

Blais & Letourneau

Knight

 


Class Action - historic

Caputo

Ragoonanan

Gagnon

Sparkes

 


Private litigation - current

Spasaic

Stright


Private litigation - historic

Battaglia

Chalut

McIntyre

Perron

Rowlands


Government Litigation-current and historic

Alberta

 

British Columbia

Canada

New Brunswick

Newfoundland  

Ontario

Quebec-Revenue

Quebec-Damages

   
   

Criminal