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Ravishankar v. Union of India [India] [October 28, 2013]
A tobacco control advocate filed a lawsuit against various government agencies seeking full enforcement of India's omnibus tobacco control law and the rules promulgated to implement the law. The advocate did not allege any specific violations of the law. After receiving information from government agencies that they plan to take appropriate action to enforce the law against violators, the court disposed of the petition. The court noted that it is not appropriate to go directly to the court for enforcement of a law if law enforcement agencies are designated.
Tennessee v. NV Sumatra Tobacco Trading Co. [United States] [March 28, 2013]
The State of Tennessee sought to recoup money owed to it under legislation related to the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) for cigarettes sold in the state. Under the MSA and Tennessee law, tobacco manufacturers who did not agree to settle were required to establish escrow accounts in states where they continued to sell cigarettes. In this case, an Indonesian tobacco manufacturer sold cigarettes through a series of intermediaries that eventually were sold to consumers in Tennessee. Neither the distributor in the U.S. nor the manufacturer paid any money into the escrow accounts as required by the MSA. The manufacturer challenged the case by claiming that Tennessee courts did not have personal jurisdiction over the company under the due process clause of the 14th amendment. After conflicting conclusions in the lower courts, the Tennessee Supreme Court found the company did not have the necessary minimum contacts necessary to establish personal jurisdiction. The court said the company did not purposely avail itself of the states laws and the contacts with the state were attributable to uncontrolled third parties. The court upheld the trial court's ruling and dismissed the case.
Ceylon Tobacco v. Minister of Health [Sri Lanka] [February 22, 2013]
The Sri Lanka Ministry of Health passed a regulation requiring tobacco products to contain graphic pictorial health warnings on 80% of the pack. The Ceylon Tobacco Company challenged the regulation as ultra vires the authority of the ministry and sought an interim order to stop the implementation of the regulation until their substantive challenge was concluded. Here the Court of Appeal denied the tobacco company’s request to delay implementation of the regulation. The court found the regulation was sufficiently clear for implementation. The court said the timeline of the regulation provided sufficient time for implementation and the balance of convenience supported the Minister.
Sinditabaco v. ANVISA [Brazil] [December 17, 2012]
A Brazilian tobacco lobbying group, Sinditabaco, brought an action to stop the National Health Surveillance Agency, ANVISA, from implementing a rule to ban the use of additives and flavorings in cigarettes. The group argued that ANVISA did not have the legal authority to make the rule and that the rule was not supported by any scientific evidence as to the health effects of the flavorings. The group claimed the rule would affect over 95% of tobacco users and presented a petition signed by various stakeholders in the tobacco product supply chain claiming that it would cause billions of dollars of losses. The legal representatives of ANVISA were not present at the hearing on the issue. The court agreed to grant the preliminary injunction stopping the implementation of the rule, pending a hearing on the merits of the case.
Imperial Tobacco v. Lord Advocate (Scotland) [United Kingdom] [December 12, 2012]
Imperial Tobacco lost this final stage in its legal challenge of Scotland’s legislation to prohibit the display of tobacco products at the point of sale and to ban the sale of tobacco products from vending machines (originally passed by the Scottish Parliament in 2010). Imperial claimed the legislation exceeds Scotland’s powers granted during devolution, such that the legislation was beyond the competency of the Scottish Parliament to pass. The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, agreeing with both of the lower courts’ decisions, found all of Imperial’s challenges unfounded and dismissed the appeal. The Supreme Court found that the law was designed to protect public health by reducing the attractiveness and availability of tobacco products, not prohibit their sale.
National Association of Tobacco Outlets, Inc. et al v. City of Providence, Rhode Island [United States] [December 10, 2012]
Various tobacco companies sought to prevent the implementation of ordinances passed by the City of Providence, Rhode Island to prohibit the sale of certain flavored non-cigarette tobacco and certain price based promotions like “buy-two-get-one-free”. The court found that Providence’s restrictions are reasonable regulations of the sales of tobacco products and serve the city’s legitimate goal of reducing smoking and other tobacco use, especially among kids. The court rejected arguments by tobacco companies that the ordinances violated their First Amendment rights or are also preempted by federal and state law. Holding that, “Neither of the Ordinances at issue precludes the Plaintiffs from engaging in activities that can be considered ‘commercial speech’,” and “(t)he three provisions of the FSPTCA (Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act) constitute no impediment to the City’s prohibition against the sale of flavored tobacco products.”
Attorney General of Canada v. Imperial Tobacco Ltd. et al. [Canada] [November 14, 2012]
This class action suit was brought by 1.8 million people in Quebec against three major tobacco manufacturers. The tobacco companies claimed that if they were found liable for personal injury, then the government should share financial responsibility as well, because tobacco products are government regulated products. The Supreme Court of Canada rejected this argument in July 2011 in a separate, but similar, case. In this decision, the Quebec Court of Appeal also rejected the tobacco manufacturers’ arguments and reversed the lower court ruling. The Court of Appeal granted a motion to dismiss by the government, and prohibited the amendment of the complaint to include the Canadian government as a potential defendant.
Judicial Review of Law No. 36 of 2009, Ruling in Case No. 24 [Indonesia] [September 05, 2012]
Officials from a local Indonesian farming administration and their representative farmers challenged the constitutionality of Article 113 of Indonesia’s Health law. The farmers claimed the law excluded any beneficial uses for tobacco and thus severely damaged their livelihoods as tobacco farmers. The court accepted the arguments and found that tobacco also has other beneficial uses despite its dangers to human health. The court granted the petition holding parts of Article 113 unconstitutional and suggesting a changing of the wording to embody the court’s ruling.
Ontario v. Rothmans Inc. [Canada] [January 04, 2012]
The government of Ontario brought an action against various tobacco manufacturers seeking recovery of 50 billion dollars in health care costs that had been or would be paid by the government for treatment of its insureds' diseases or risks of diseases related to tobacco use. The claim was brought under the Tobacco Damages and Health Care Costs Recovery Act. The government alleged that the manufacturers had engaged in an intentional scheme of deception, arguing, among other things, that the manufacturers had been aware of the harmful health effects of cigarette smoke and second-hand smoke for several decades but had suppressed evidence revealing these effects and had purposely misled the public about the health risks of cigarette smoke.
This order reviews certain companies challenge to jurisdiction. The court rejects the challenge to jurisdiction and orders costs to be calculated for all the proceedings leading up to this ruling.
Mighty Corp. v. Dept. of Health [Philippines] [July 29, 2010]
In this case the court determined the propriety of an earlier preliminary injunction. The earlier injunction had restrained the Department of Health, the defendant, from implementing Administrative Order No. 2010-0013. This order required the use of graphic health information on tobacco product packaging. The plaintiff, Mighty Corporation, argued that the administrative order infringed upon the plaintiff’s liberty and property causing irreparable injury and unwarranted expenses in enforcement. The court recognized that while the Order was meant to protect consumers against deceptive and unfair sales, the additional warning requirements would negatively affect the plaintiff’s business. Since the Administrative Order seemed to conflict with the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003, the court decided to issue the preliminary injunction.
The Court also considered the defendant’s motion for reconsideration. The Department of Health thought the initial preliminary injunction violated its right to due process since a hearing was never held. The Court found that the order did not preclude the defendant from filing relevant motions nor a comment to the court. Thus the defendant was not denied due process, and the preliminary injunction was legal.