Sparkes v. Imperial Tobacco
Newfoundland lawyer Ches Crosbie, files a class-action lawsuit against
tobacco giant Imperial Tobacco, claiming the Montreal-based company deceived
its customers in its marketing of 'light' and 'mild' cigarettes.
is filed on behalf of Victor Sparkes of
Conception Bay South, Nfld. The suit is modeled on the B.C. "knight" case
and is based on
Trade Practices Act, which provides remedies for deceptive trade practices.
The suit seeks refunds for money made from the sales of
'light' and 'mild' cigarettes since their introduction in the 1970s.
The Statement of Claim is amended
Imperial Tobacco notifies the government of Canada that it
is being named as a third party to the suit.
27 June 2006
Application for certification
lawsuit filed in Nfld. takes aim at Canadian tobacco company
Canadian Press NewsWire. Toronto: Jul 20, 2004.
JOHN'S, Nfld. (CP) - A Newfoundland law firm has filed a class-action
lawsuit against tobacco giant Imperial Tobacco, claiming the Montreal-based
company deceived its customers in its marketing for light and mild
behalf of all those people who, in the belief that light cigarettes were a
more healthful alternative, smoked light cigarettes anywhere in the last 30
years or so," lawyer Ches Crosbie said Tuesday.
lawsuit, which is similar to one filed last year in British Columbia, isn't
seeking compensation for people who suffered health problems due to smoking.
the suit is based on Newfoundland's Trade Practices Act, a statute enacted
in the 1970s as part of pro-consumer reforms.
saying it was a deceptive trade practice and forbidden by the act," said
will seek the refund of money made from the sales of light and mild
cigarettes since their introduction in the 1970s.
said hundreds of millions of dollars are at stake.
Christina Dona, an Imperial Tobacco spokesperson in Montreal, dismissed the
court action as unfounded and frivolous.
this particular suit as a copy-cat suit, an opportunistic attempt to cash in
on American-style litigation and it in no way reflects the Canadian
reality," she said.
said the federal government is responsible for instigating and authorizing
the development of lower tar tobacco products.
until last year the federal government was encouraging smokers that if you
can't quit, then switch to lighter, lower tar delivered products."
Coady, head of the Newfoundland and Labrador Alliance for the Control of
Tobacco, said statistics indicate some smokers would have quit years ago,
but switched instead from regular cigarettes to light brands thinking they
would be less harmful.
"Clearly this is a case of deception," said Coady.
"There's an obvious perception if you put the word light on anything."
Crosbie filed the suit two weeks ago in Newfoundland
Supreme Court on behalf of Victor Sparkes of Conception Bay South, Nfld.
Sparkes, a former smoker who kicked the habit four
years ago, said he hasn't developed any obvious illnesses as a result of 15
years of smoking.
He said he smoked light cigarettes because he
believed it could delay the onset of smoking-related illnesses.
Last year, an Illinois court ordered U.S. tobacco
giant Phillip Morris to pay $10.1 billion US to one million smokers.
A judge ruled the company violated the state's
consumer fraud laws in the way it marketed its light brands of cigarettes.
That decision is currently under appeal. A final
ruling is expected by the end of the year.
Crosbie said the next step will be a certification
hearing before the Newfoundland Supreme Court. A date for that hearing has
not been set.
He said he expects there will be an appeal by one
side or the other no matter what the result of the hearing.
If the lawsuit is approved by the court, Crosbie said
it could take up to five years before a ruling is made.
Dr. Susan King, past president of the Newfoundland
and Labrador Medical Association, said there's no such thing as a safe
cigarette. "We know that in Newfoundland and Labrador, we lose about 1,000
people a year who are smokers," she told a news conference Tuesday.