Saturday, 19 October 2013

Ten courts agree: Foreign owners can be sued in Canada

Two more judges have rejected the idea that Canadian courts might not have jurisdiction to decide claims against the foreign owners of tobacco companies operating in Canada.

On October 1, Justice R.S. Smith of the Saskatchewan Queen's Bench dismissed the "claim for want of jurisdiction" that had been filed by B.A.T Industries, British American Tobacco, British American Tobacco (Investments),  R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco International Inc. and Carreras Rothmans.

Three days later, Justice Fournier of Quebec's Court of Appeal refused to grant the same companies leave to appeal a similar decision which Quebec Superior Court Justice Stéphane Sansfaçon made in early July. Justice Fournier said such an appeals would not likely succeed, and that the companies had not convinced him it was in the interests of justice to allow the appeal.

The rulings against the companies are growing, the number of companies seeking them may be dwindling. Philip Morris International was not party to several of the recent requests.

The scorecard

I now count 11 court rulings supporting the provincial governments' right seek claims against the foreign owners of Canadian tobacco operations in their own courts. (See list below).

British Columbia
Supreme Court, June 23, 2005. (2005 BCSC 946)
Court of Appeal, September 15, 2006. (2006 BCCA 398)
Supreme Court of Canada. April 5, 2007. (Refused leave to appeal - 31715)

New Brunswick
Queen's Bench November 11, 2010. (2010 NBQB 381)
Court of Appeal. April 11, 2011. (2011 CanLII 20627 , 2011 CanLII 20626
Supreme Court of Canada. October 13, 2011. (Refused Leave to Appeal - 34266, 34264,)

Superior Court, January 4, 2012. (2012 ONSC 22)
Court of Appeal. May 30, 2013. (2013 ONCA 353)

Superior Court. July 4, 2013. (2013 QCCS 2994)
Court of Appeal. October 4, 2013. (2013 QCCA 1702)

Court of Queen's Bench. October 1, 2013. (2013 SKQB 357)