British American Tobacco plc (LON:BATS) has said it is “extremely disappointed” that the Quebec Court of Appeal did not overturn the smoking class action lawsuit judgment made against its Canadian subsidiary, Imperial Tobacco Canada Ltd which intends an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.
In an announcement on Friday, 1 March 2019, the Court of Appeal upheld the Superior Court's decision of May 2015 in two Quebec Class Action lawsuits against Imperial Tobacco Canada and two other Canadian tobacco companies, which has been going on for almost 20 years.
In a statement on Monday, a spokesperson for BAT said: “We are still of the view that this decision is wrong - ignoring the reality that both adult consumers and government have known about the risk associated with smoking for decades. As a result, we believe it should be overturned.”
The spokesperson added: "Imperial Tobacco Canada Ltd. needs to review the court's decision in more detail and will decide on next steps over the coming days and weeks. Given the significance of the judgment, they have said that they fully intend to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court of Canada."
BAT noted that, following the release of the appeal judgment, the plaintiffs requested the immediate release of the funds on deposit, which was refused. They then filed a formal motion to release the funds, and Imperial Tobacco Canada Ltd. filed a motion to prevent the release of the funds in question.
The FTSE 100-listed firm stressed that it was not a party to the proceeding and is not a party to the judgment, only its Canadian subsidiary, Imperial Tobacco Canada.