Bill would allow province to sue tobacco companies (05/12/07)
NB 1670. Dec. 7, 2005
FREDERICTON (CNB) - Legislation that would
give New Brunswick the ability to recover health-care costs from
tobacco companies for tobacco-related illness was introduced today
by Attorney General Brad Green.
"Tobacco companies must be held
accountable for the enormous costs of treating tobacco-related
illness," Green said. "Not only have New Brunswick
families had to deal with personal tragedies, but also taxpayers
have borne the financial burden."
The Tobacco Damages and Health-care Costs
Recovery Act would give the province legal authority to sue the
tobacco industry for past and future health-care costs related to
the use of tobacco products. New Brunswick could proceed alone or
in co-operation with other provinces.
The bill is similar to legislation in
British Columbia that was recently declared constitutional by the
Supreme Court of Canada. New Brunswick was an intervenor in
support of British Columbia. Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova
Scotia and Ontario have since introduced or passed equivalent
"Tobacco use is one of the most
preventable causes of death and illness in our province,"
said Health and Wellness Minister Elvy Robichaud. "This bill
supports our strategy to reduce illness related to smoking,
prevent young people from starting to smoke and encourage smokers
The legislation is consistent with the
Places Act, the Tobacco Free Schools program and its
participation in the New Brunswick Anti-Tobacco Coalition.
» Province moves toward plans to sue tobacco
Dec. 21, 2006
FREDERICTON (CNB) - The Government of New
Brunswick has taken the next step toward holding tobacco companies
financially responsible for the health-care costs of
Attorney General T.J. Burke has begun the
process to hire a qualified law firm or consortium of law firms to
represent the province and provide advice in its legal action
against tobacco companies. A request
for proposals with a deadline of Jan. 31, 2007, has been
"Tobacco companies must be held
accountable not only to New Brunswick families who have had to
deal with the emotional impact of smoking-related illnesses, but
also to the taxpayers who pay the enormous health-care
costs," Burke said. "This government is committed to
making that happen."
Legislation enacted earlier this year gave
the province the ability to recover health-care costs from tobacco
companies. The Tobacco
Damages and Health Care Cost Recovery Act gives the province
legal authority to sue the tobacco industry for past and future
health-care costs related to the use of tobacco products.
The bill is similar to legislation in
British Columbia that was declared constitutional by the Supreme
Court of Canada. New Brunswick was an intervener in support of
British Columbia. Once the legislation is proclaimed, the province
will have two years from that date to begin action against tobacco
Health Minister Mike Murphy said that the
government will work hard to keep New Brunswickers from smoking,
while also ensuring that tobacco companies are made liable for the
pain and suffering caused by their products.
"Cigarettes and other tobacco products
are responsible for many preventable deaths from cancers, heart
disease and lung disease," Murphy said. "This is why our
government is determined to work with stakeholders to keep New
Brunswickers from smoking or using other tobacco products, and to
help those who already smoke to quit. And it's why we believe that
tobacco companies must be held accountable for the harm done to
the health of individuals, and for the burden borne by taxpayers
to provide health care to those who become sick from using tobacco
This move is part of a comprehensive
approach to eliminating tobacco use in the province.
retained for tobacco lawsuit (07/09/12)
FREDERICTON (CNB) - The Province of New
Brunswick has retained a consortium of lawyers to sue tobacco
companies for health-care costs of tobacco-related illnesses.
"I am pleased to say that we are
moving ahead on our commitment in the Charter for Change to hold
tobacco companies accountable to both New Brunswick families and
to taxpayers for the health care costs involved in dealing with
the enormous physical, emotional and financial impact of
smoking-related illnesses," Justice and Consumer Affairs
Minister T. J. Burke said.
The consortium includes two New Brunswick
lawyers: Philippe J. Eddie, Q.C. of Moncton and Chris Correia with
Correia and Collins in Saint John. In addition, it includes
Siskinds LLP, Fasken Martineau DuMoulin, and Bennett Jones from
Ontario. Two law firms from the United States that has been
involved in settlements of a number of state lawsuits are also
part of the consortium - Richardson, Patrick, Westbrook and
Brickman of South Carolina and Martin and Jones of North Carolina.
The Province announced last December its
intention to sue and issued a request for proposals (RFP) with a
Jan. 31, 2007, deadline for a qualified law firm or consortium of
law firms to represent the Province and provide advice in its
legal action against tobacco companies. There were four qualified
submissions to the RFP.
"I wish to assure New Brunswickers
that our government will continue to do everything it can to
prevent the needless pain and suffering caused by tobacco
use," Health Minister Michael Murphy said. "Tobacco
companies certainly know the pain and suffering caused by the use
or exposure to their products, and we believe it is time they are
Under the terms of the agreement, the
consortium has been retained on a contingency fee basis, which
means the Province will not pay any legal costs up front and the
consortium will recover its legal fees and disbursements as a
percentage of the actual amounts recovered in the litigation.
The fee schedule has been broken down into
State 1: If a settlement is reached during
the initial stage after their retainer, the lawyers will be paid
12 per cent of any settlement reached.
Stage 2: If a settlement is reached after
issuance of the statement of claim, the consortium's percentage
increases to18 per cent.
Stage 3: If a settlement is awarded after
trial, the percentage rises to 20 per cent.
Stage 4: If a settlement is awarded on
appeal, consortium will receive 22 per cent.
moving ahead in lawsuit against big tobacco
Thursday, September 13, 2007 | 9:54 AM
ET. CBC news
Two lawyers from Saint John and Moncton will
help New Brunswick take on tobacco companies.
Chris Correia of Saint John and Phillippe
Eddie of Moncton join a consortium of lawyers who will try to make
the legal case that big tobacco should pay the
province for the medical cost of treating smokers.
Attorney General and Justice Minister
T.J. Burke said experts in the departments of health and
justice have been doing research to determine what those costs
"Through this information-gathering
process, we'll be able to better quantify exactly how much it has
cost the province of New Brunswick with respect to attributable
tobacco-related wrongs on the part of tobacco-related
manufacturers," he said.
Burke said his office offered the legal
jobs to anybody who was interested in taking on a very costly,
lengthy and technical lawsuit.
Those who applied were then graded.
"An evaluation team was put together
by representatives from the Department of Justice and the
Department of Health who evaluated their ability, their resources
and also, the proposal that they put forward, which largely had a
big part in determining who was going to be the lead for New
Burke said experience was important, but
the other key factor was how the lawyers would bill the
The consortium of lawyers are working on a
contingency fee. They will receive a percentage of whatever
the province recovers through legal action, to a maximum of 25 per
The province proclaimed its first
anti-tobacco lawsuit legislation earlier this year, and will be
the second province to haul tobacco companies to court. British
Columbia was the first province to pass a law enabling itself to
sue cigarette makers.
Burke says it could take years for New
Brunswick's lawsuit to make it to the courts, if it doesn't
New Brunswick Government Announcement "No
MONTREAL, Sept. 13 /CNW Telbec/ -
Yesterday's announcement by the New Brunswick government that it
has hired a "consortium" of high powered lawyers to sue
the tobacco industry comes as no surprise.
Imperial Tobacco Canada can only repeat
here what it has said on many occasions. This lawsuit has nothing
to do with health. It has everything to do with money. Not
satisfied with taxing the industry, the government also sues in
the stated hope of reaching a settlement with the industry.
The conditions that made a settlement
possible in the U.S. do not exist in Canada. There is no room to
increase the price of the product. The government taxes are
already so high that illicit trade has reached more than 30
percent in some provinces.
In any event, the proceeds in the U.S. have
been used for anything but health. The stunning fact that the
government has found it necessary both to change centuries' old
law and to import US lawyers and their appetite for money just to
get to the point of filing a lawsuit speaks volumes about its lack
of confidence in the merits of its case.
The case is not about the merits. It is all
about looking for a settlement. But the sad teaching of many years
of experience in the U.S. is that virtually all settlement money
has gone first to exceedingly wealthy lawyers and then to diverse
projects that share only the fact that they have nothing to do
with smoking and health.
Governments in Canada, both federal
and provincial, are the senior partners in the tobacco industry
and the major beneficiaries. They receive $ 9 billion a year in
tobacco taxes, 13 times more than the profitability of all the
tobacco companies combined. Canada is the most regulated market in
the world, with regulations governing the product itself and how
it is manufactured, marketed and sold. And governments have been
aware for decades of the significant health risks associated with
So it is bizarre that governments should
now sue an industry that they themselves control and from which
they pump the largest share of the revenues.
There will be no settlement from the
industry such as that hoped for by the New Brunswick
This case will take years to resolve. The
industry will fight these cases and despite the unfair laws and
tactics displayed by the New Brunswick government, is confident of
Just ask the American plaintiffs' lawyers,
they have lost cases too.
For further information: Catherine Doyle,
Manager, Corporate Communications, (514) 932-6161, x 2113
N.B. becomes second province to file lawsuit
against tobacco industry
Mar 13, 2008,
FREDERICTON — New Brunswick has
become the second province to officially file a lawsuit targeting the
Health Minister Mike Murphy said
Thursday the province is committed to holding tobacco companies accountable
for the suffering caused by tobacco products.
"The suit is on behalf of people
whose health has been harmed by tobacco products, families who have lost
loved ones to tobacco-related illness, and taxpayers who have borne the
added costs to the health-care system," he said.
While no one in the government
was willing to put a dollar figure to the suit, it's expected the province
will be seeking to recover tens of millions of dollars.
"Numbers, of course, are going to
be substantial because we believe the province of New Brunswick has spent
millions of dollars in health care for citizens who have tobacco-related
injuries or damages," said T.J. Burke, New Brunswick's attorney general.
"Tobacco has caused tremendous
damage to citizens in the province of New Brunswick, and the government has
paid substantial costs in medicare with respect to damages related to
smoking activity and we're going to recover those costs from these tobacco
News of the lawsuit was welcomed
by the president of the New Brunswick Lung Association.
Ken Maybee said thousands of
Canadians have died prematurely because of smoking, and people who started
smoking at a younger age are now suffering from emphysema and acute
"It is very painful and
debilitating to them and very costly to the health-care system," said Maybee.
He said once a settlement is
reached, his group and others will have to be vigilant to ensure a portion
of the money is used to fund smoking prevention.
British Columbia was the first
province to launch a lawsuit against the industry while Manitoba,
Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia have all taken legislative steps
to clear the way for their own.
New Brunswick's Liberal
government announced in December 2006 that it would take legal action, but
provincial legislation allowing it to do so was only proclaimed last week.
The province is using a
consortium of lawyers, including two U.S. firms that have been involved in
settlements at the state level.
Negotiated settlements by the 50
American states totalled more than US$245 billion over 25 years.
Michael Perley, director of the
Ontario Campaign for Action on Tobacco, said he expected lawsuits in Canada
could be of the same magnitude.
"There's no reason to believe we
shouldn't achieve the same results here in Canada because the behaviour of
the American companies that led to that settlement is no different from the
Canadian companies over the same periods of time," said Perley.
He called New Brunswick's case
"good news," but said it was long overdue.
Perley said all the provinces
should have filed suit 10 years ago. He hoped that New Brunswick's action
would spur other provinces, including Ontario, to take the tobacco industry
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty
has said his government doesn't want to punish big tobacco and warned
there's "considerable doubt" about the likely success of a lawsuit
U.S. lawyer says
N.B. has leg up in tobacco lawsuit
Published Monday March 24th, 2008
By ROB LINKE, Canadaeast News Service,
Appeared on page A4
OTTAWA - Illness due to smoking
drove up New Brunswick's health-care costs over the last six decades by $10
billion or more, says a U.S. lawyer playing a leading role to recover those
costs by suing the tobacco industry.
"Based on the work of the
economists we have retained to look at the data so far, it's upwards of $10
billion for past medical costs," said Charles Patrick, a senior tobacco
litigation lawyer in Charleston, S.C., who is part of the team of law firms
the province has hired.
Earlier this month, New Brunswick
became the second province, after British Columbia, to file a statement of
claim initiating a lawsuit against Canadian tobacco companies.
It doesn't specify the damages
the province is seeking.
Patrick said it's far too
premature to predict a settlement or damages worth $10 billion, but the
figure suggests how high the stakes are.
The figure also outstrips an
estimate of $1 billion that New Brunswick could recover, offered by a legal
and policy analyst with the Canadian Cancer Society and echoed by the Lung
Society of New Brunswick.
The legislation New Brunswick
enacted to go after the tobacco industry also allows it to seek damages for
future health-care costs based on projections of tobacco-related illnesses
that emerge later, said Patrick.
His firm - Richardson, Patrick,
Westbrook and Brickman - was a leader in the biggest civil law settlement in
U.S. history, the 1998 master settlement agreement with U.S. tobacco giants.
The companies agreed to pay $206
billion to all 50 state governments and six U.S. territories over 25 years.
The deal led to higher-priced tobacco products and to a ban on billboard
New Brunswick and other provinces
would appear to have advantages galore over the American states as their
battle gears up.
First, New Brunswick has enacted
legislation, modelled on British Columbia's, that provides a legal
foundation laid specifically for the lawsuit.
The New Brunswick law was also
drafted in light of a 2005 Supreme Court of Canada ruling on B.C.'s act. The
American states, said Patrick, didn't have this legal framework.
"These laws provide for a direct
right of action, even in my reading of the legislation, against the U.S. or
international parent company," said Patrick. "The Canadian provinces that do
file have a leg up."
Second, the U.S. lawsuits pried
loose 39-million pages of internal tobacco industry documents during the
Now in a repository in Guildford,
England, the documents include at least seven-million pages from British
American Tobacco Co. Ltd. (BAT), which controls Canada's biggest cigarette
maker, Imperial Tobacco Ltd. of Montreal, one of the defendants in New
The damning revelations the
Guildford documents contain about Big Tobacco's deceptive marketing
practices are the basis for many of the allegations in New Brunswick's
statement of claim.
Third, with Canada having
universal public health care, a successful outcome in the tobacco litigation
could lead to a payoff that is higher per capita than the massive
settlements in the United States.
Patrick estimated that in South
Carolina, for example, only 20 per cent of the health-care costs due to
smoking were borne by the state. Private insurers paid most of the rest.
"We do think that the damages
will be much higher because of Canada's single-payer system,
proportionately," he said.
New Brunswick's high smoking
rates - the second worst in Canada - would also be a factor driving up any
settlement or award, said Patrick.
British Columbia and New
Brunswick are in the lead among the six Canadian provinces that are going
after the tobacco industry.
In 2006-07, the tobacco tax in
New Brunswick, paid by wholesalers, generated $85.9 million in revenue for
the province. The provincial share of the Harmonized Sales Tax generated a
further $20 million.
A 2003 study put tobacco-related
health-care costs in New Brunswick at $125 million a year.
In 2005, Health Canada estimated
all tobacco-related health care costs at $4 billion a year in Canada.
In 2004, British Columbia pegged
its costs at more than $430 million a year.