Ontario court upholds stay of legal proceedings against 3 tobacco companies
A person smokes a cigarette in this file photo from Sept. 29, 2009. (Pawel Dwulit /The Canadian Press)
Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, April 18, 2019 11:06AM EDT
TORONTO - An Ontario court has upheld an order that suspended legal proceedings against three major tobacco companies, rejecting arguments from lawyers representing Quebec smokers.
Ontario Superior Court Justice Thomas McEwen issued his decision Wednesday but did not lay out his reasons, saying those would be released at a later date.
The companies -- JTI-Macdonald Corp., Rothmans, Benson & Hedges and Imperial Tobacco Canada Ltd. -- were granted the stay last month as part of the creditor protection process.
They obtained the protection shortly after Quebec's highest court upheld a landmark decision that ordered them to pay more than $15 billion to smokers in two class-action lawsuits.
The companies have said they had no choice but to seek the stay so they could continue to operate as they try to negotiate a global settlement with all those who have claims against them, including the class-action members and several provincial governments.
But lawyers representing the class members argued the stay in their case should be revoked if the tobacco companies plan to appeal the Quebec ruling to the Supreme Court of Canada.