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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.
Souza Cruz v. ACT Brazil [Brazil] [September 28, 2012]
Souza Cruz, a tobacco company, sought to prevent ACT Brazil, a public health NGO, from publishing a video criticizing the placement of tobacco products near candies, gum and other products popular with children. Souza Cruz argued that the video suggested the company was encouraging the criminal act of selling cigarettes to minors. The court ruled that the video did not target the company specifically but was instead generally advocating for greater restrictions on point of sale placement of tobacco products. The court found there was no injury to the company sufficient to justify a restriction on freedom of expression. This is a decision of the appellate court agreeing with the trial court to deny the injunction sought by the tobacco company.
Souza Cruz v. ACT Brazil [Brazil] [September 05, 2012]
Souza Cruz, a tobacco company, sought to prevent ACT Brazil, a public interest NGO, from publishing a video criticizing the placement of tobacco products near candies, gum and other products popular with children. Souza Cruz argued that the video suggested the company was encouraging the criminal act of selling cigarettes to minors. The court ruled that the video did not target the company specifically but was instead generally advocating for greater restrictions on point of sale placement of tobacco products. The court found there was no injury to the company sufficient to justify a restriction on freedom of expression.
Ministério Público, et al. v. Souza Cruz SA [Brazil] [August 04, 2011]
The plaintiffs brought a lawsuit against Souza Cruz, a tobacco company, seeking damages for the death of their father, who allegedly developed a habit of smoking because of heavy advertisement and lack of information on the contents and side effects of cigarettes. The lower court dismissed the case and the plaintiffs appealed to the higher court with the intervention of the Public Prosecutor's Office. The plaintiffs argued that they were not given due process of law to produce evidence before the court and claimed damages. The higher court found that the plaintiffs’ father had smoked out of free will and that he had sufficient information on the consequences of tobacco consumption. The Court affirmed the lower court's decision and dismissed the appeal.
Chaves v. Souza Cruz S/A [Brazil] [July 26, 2011]
The plaintiff brought an action against Souza Cruz, a tobacco company, seeking damages for all the health problems allegedly resulting from his use of tobacco products. He alleged that he was induced into smoking cigarettes by the defendant's misleading advertisements. The lower court decided in favor of the tobacco company, finding that the plaintiff had exceeded the statutory time limit to bring the claim. The plaintiff appealed to the higher court, arguing that he had not been given the right to due process of law -- the right to produce evidence -- and that the statutory time limit did not apply. The higher court decided in favor of the tobacco company, stating that the plaintiff had been given the opportunity to produce evidence and that the statutory time limit did apply to the case.
Bernhardt v. Philip Morris Brasil S A [Brazil] [March 22, 2011]
The plaintiff filed a lawsuit against Souza Cruz, a tobacco company, seeking damages for the death of his spouse, who he alleged died from health conditions associated with consuming the defendant's tobacco products, which allegedly resulted from the defendant's misleading advertisements portraying healthy and athletic people smoking. The lower court dismissed the case and the plaintiff appealed to this appeals court. The Court decided in favor of the plaintiff and ordered the defendant pay damages.
Vescovi, et al. v. Souza Cruz S A [Brazil] [January 10, 2011]
The plaintiffs sought damages under various tobacco control laws from defendant tobacco company, Souza Cruz, claiming that defendant's misleading advertisements led to their husband/father's consumption of tobacco products for many years and his eventual death. The Court held in favor of the tobacco company and dismissed the case, finding that the defendant had acted in compliance with the tobacco control laws.
Alegre v. Souza Cruz S A [Brazil] [December 30, 2010]
The plaintiff, Dina Ribeiro Mont Alegre, filed a lawsuit against Souza Cruz, a tobacco company, seeking damages for health problems she was suffering allegedly due to tobacco consumption. She claimed that when she began smoking, the advertisements were misleading and did not warn her about the possible health problems caused by the substances in the cigarettes. The Court ruled in favor of the tobacco company, finding that the consumer has the liberty of choosing to smoke and that, at the time the plaintiff had started smoking, tobacco companies were not obligated to warn consumers in their advertisements. Therefore, the Court exempted the defendant of any responsibility.
Associação Brasileira de Bares e Restaurantes, seccional São Paulo (ABRASEL-SP) v. Diretor Exectivo da Fundação de Proteção e de Defesa do Consumidor de São Paulo (PROCON-SP), et al. [Brazil] [September 13, 2010]
The Association of Bars sought to continue permitting clients to smoke in food establishments after the State of Sao Paulo passed a prohibition against the practice. Specifically, the plaintiff claimed that the law prohibiting smoking in restaurants was unconstitutional because São Paulo exceeded its powers when it legislated the matter. The defendants claimed that they rightfully legislated legal provisions complementary to the Constitution and the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), which Brazil has ratified. The defendants therefore claimed that the law passed in the State of São Paulo was constitutional and that the bars and restaurants had to provide a smoke-free environment. The plaintiff appealed the decision of the lower court, but the higher court affirmed the constitutionality of the State of São Paulo's law.
Sivieri v. Cia de Cigarros Souza Cruz [Brazil] [June 29, 2010]
The plaintiff sought damages for health problems that she claimed to have suffered as a result of her use of tobacco products, which she had began consuming at a very early age. She claimed that the tobacco company, Souza Cruz, advertised smoking as being healthy, classy, and the source of well-being, which led her to start smoking. The plaintiff died during the litigation and her spouse and son continued the lawsuit and demanded financial compensation for all of the original plaintiff's medical costs, as well as for the pain and suffering she and her family experienced. Finding that the plaintiff had demonstrated that the tobacco company knew about the harmful consequences of its products, but nevertheless refrained from disclosing them in pursuit of financial gains, the Court held in favor of the plaintiff. The court ordered Souza Cruz to compensate the plaintiffs.