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November 2, 2011

New Brunswick Lawsuit against Tobacco Companies to Continue

Three years ago the government of New Brunswick launched a lawsuit against a number of tobacco companies to recover health-care costs related to tobacco products. The authority for the province to file this lawsuit comes from the New Brunswick Tobacco Damages and Health Care Costs Recovery Act. On October 13th the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) dismissed applications for leave to appeal that had been filed by four of the companies who claimed the government of New Brunswick had no jurisdiction to sue them.

The SCC decision means that the New Brunswick Court of Queen’s Bench may hear the matter and therefore clears the way to allow the province to continue its lawsuit.

Recently, the SCC also held that the provincial government had the right to retain lawyers from outside New Brunswick with a contingency-fee agreement in their lawsuit against tobacco manufacturers.

New Brunswick is the second province, after British Columbia, to file a lawsuit against tobacco manufacturers and several other provinces are now also pursuing the tobacco industry to recover some health-care related costs.