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Search Results Results 1-10 of 17

J. Anbazhagan v. Union of India [India] [April 26, 2018]

J. Anbazhagan, a member of the legislative assembly in the State of Tamil Nadu, filed a writ petition to highlight the illegal manufacture and sale of gutka and pan masala in the state and to urge the High Court of Madras to order an independent investigation into the matter. Mr. Anbazhagan alleged such sales were carried out in collusion with several high dignitaries and bureaucrats, such as central excise officials, central government officials, officials from different state governments, including the Government of Tamil Nadu, councilors of the Chennai Corporation, and officials of the food safety department, among others. The Court observed that it was compelled to take up the case as the issues involved the right to health and directed that the Central Bureau of Investigation investigate the matter, since, among other reasons, central government officials allegedly were involved.  In response to arguments made by the respondents, the Court also clarified that the definition of “food” under Section 3(j) of the Food Safety Act includes any substance, whether processed, partially processed or unprocessed, which is intended for human consumption and that the definition undoubtedly was wide enough to include gutka, and other forms of chewable tobacco/nicotine products intended for human consumption. The Court further clarified that India’s omnibus tobacco control law, COTPA, and the Food Safety Act were not in conflict, but were meant to be read in conjunction with each other as COTPA does not contain a non-obstante clause that excludes operation of other laws.

Pranvesh v. Union of India [India] [June 30, 2016]

A University of Allahabad student filed a writ petition alleging the unabated sale of tobacco to minors and adults in the city of Allahabad. The High Court of Allahabad found that temporary and permanent shops located near schools and other public institutions were making such sales. The Court also found that certain tobacco manufacturers presented misleading information about their products in print and visual media and failed to comply with the requirement for pictorial warnings on tobacco products.  The Court passed the following directions: (1) that all temporary/permanent establishments selling tobacco within a 100 yard radius of educational institutions be removed; (2) that all temporary/permanent establishments selling tobacco within 500 meter radius of the High Court and the District Court be removed; (3) that the sale of tobacco to persons seated in parked cars on roads and road sides be stopped; and (4) that strict action be taken against tobacco manufacturers who violate the requirement for compulsory statutory warnings on their products.

Quebec Class Action [Canada] [May 27, 2015]

Two class action lawsuits were filed in Canada in 1998 against major tobacco companies; the cases were later combined. One class (Blais) involved Quebec residents with lung cancer, throat cancer, or emphysema. The other class (Letourneau) involved Quebec residents addicted to nicotine. After a lengthy trial, the court found that the tobacco companies caused injury, failed to inform customers of the risks and dangers of its products, and violated Quebec law.

In the Blais case, the court awarded moral damages (e.g., for pain and suffering) of $15.5 billion, to be paid jointly by the three tobacco companies. In the Letourneau case, although the court found that the tobacco companies were at fault, it did not award moral damages because there was not enough evidence to determine the total amount of the class members’ claims. In both cases the court awarded punitive damages, which it calculated based on one year of before-tax profits for each tobacco company. In Blais, the court reduced this award to the symbolic amount of $30,000 for each defendant, representing one dollar for each death the tobacco industry causes in Canada each year. In Letourneau, the court awarded punitive damages of $131 million. The tobacco companies must make an initial deposit on the judgment of $1 billion while the appeal is pending.

United States v. Philip Morris USA [United States] [November 27, 2012]

In 1999, the United States filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against the major cigarette manufacturers and related trade organizations alleging that defendants, while acting as an enterprise, fraudulently misled American consumers for decades about the risks and dangers of cigarette smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke in violation of the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). In 2006, the court found that defendants violated RICO and that there was a reasonable likelihood that defendants would continue to violate RICO in the future. On appeal, the district court’s findings were upheld, in part, vacated, in part, and remanded, in part, to the district court. After the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear appeals from both sides in the case in June 2010, the district court began to implement the 2006 final order.

This opinion by the District Court specifies language the tobacco companies must publish to correct previous false and misleading conduct by the tobacco companies.  The court announces five subject headings each with specific corrective statements. After describing the required language the court provides a detailed legal analysis of the First Amendment grounds supporting the requirements.  The court then dismisses other alternative challenges brought by the tobacco companies.

Naya Bans Sarv Vyapar Assoc. v. India [India] [November 09, 2012]

In this judgment of the Delhi High Court, an association of tobacco wholesalers challenged certain provisions of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act 2003 (COTPA) which banned the selling of tobacco products within a 100 yard radius of any educational institution.  The wholesalers sought an exclusion of their wholesale trade from the law, arguing that the intent of the law was to reduce retail sale and their business would not be a danger to young people buying tobacco.  While highlighting the public health need for COTPA, the court dismissed the petition, holding that the sale of tobacco products, whether in wholesale or in retail, near the educational institution has the potential of attracting the students so both type of tobacco sellers should be equally restricted.  In addition to dismissing the petition, the court also imposed costs of 20,000 rupees each on the petitioners to be paid to the central and state governments for anti-tobacco initiatives.

Engle v. Liggett Group, Inc. [United States] [December 01, 2006]

In 1994, a class-action suit was brought in Florida against most U.S. tobacco companies on the basis of numerous tort claims seeking compensatory and punitive damages for injuries caused by smoking.  After lengthy trial and appellate proceedings, the Supreme Court of Florida was asked to review a judgment by the intermediate appellate court which reversed a $145 billion punitive damages award for the class and a $12.7 million compensatory award for the three individual class representatives.  The court disapproved of the reasoning that the punitive damage award was barred by the earlier settlement agreement entered into by the State of Florida with the tobacco industry, and instead vacated the award because it was excessive as a matter of law.  The court upheld two of the three compensatory awards but found the third was barred by the statute of limitations.  The court further held that while much of the findings of the trial phase could stand, the remaining issues were highly individualized and required an order de-certifying the class.  The court thus remanded the case and required individuals to pursue separate claims for compensation.

United States v. Philip Morris USA [United States] [August 17, 2006]

In 1999, the United States filed a lawsuit against the major cigarette manufacturers and related trade organizations alleging that defendants fraudulently misled American consumers for decades about the risks and dangers of cigarette smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke in violation of the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). In 2006, the court found that defendants violated RICO and that there was a reasonable likelihood that defendants would continue to violate RICO in the future. On appeal, the district court’s findings were upheld, in part, vacated, in part, and remanded, in part, to the district court. After the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear appeals from both sides in the case in June 2010, the district court began to implement the 2006 final order.

To prevent and restrain future RICO violations, the court provided several forms of injunctive relief including enjoining defendants from (1) committing further acts of racketeering relating to the manufacturing, marketing, promotion, health consequences or sale of cigarettes; (2) making further false, misleading or deceptive statements or representations about cigarettes; and (3) conveying  or using any express or implied health message or health descriptor for any cigarette brand including the terms “light” or “low tar.” The court also required defendants to make court-approved corrective statements about the adverse health effects of smoking, the addictiveness of smoking and nicotine, the lack of any significant health benefit from smoking so-called “low tar” cigarettes, defendants’ manipulation of cigarette design to optimize nicotine delivery, and the adverse health effects of tobacco smoke exposure.  The court required additional transparency measures of defendants including that defendants provide the government with access to disaggregated data on the marketing of cigarettes for ten years and continue to make public their internal corporate documents produced in U.S.-based smoking and health litigation for 15 years. Last, the court disbanded several tobacco industry trade or research associations.  

American Legacy Foundation v. Lorillard Tobacco [United States] [July 17, 2006]

In this decision of the Supreme Court of Delaware, Lorillard Tobacco challenged the advertising of the American Legacy Foundation as a violation of the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) between 46 states Attorney Generals and the nation’s largest tobacco companies.  The terms of the MSA created and funded Legacy to advocate against smoking and tobacco use, but also included limitations on how Legacy could advocate.  One of the limitations was that Legacy could not participate in "vilification" or "personal attacks" of the tobacco companies or their executives.  Among its advocacy efforts, Legacy developed an advertising campaign called “The Truth” (http://www.thetruth.com/) which created advertisements targeted at catching the attention of young people.  Lorillard challenged the ads as a violation of the MSA, claiming they vilified and personally attacked the company and its employees.   Agreeing with the Chancery Court, the Supreme Court held the advertisements did not meet the legal standard of vilification or personal attacks.  While expressly excluding the dictionary citations offered by the parties, the Court looked at the use of the words in prior case law to determine their legal meaning.  The Court found vilification to indicate strong negativity above disparagement and personal attacks to require specific individual targeting.  Applying these definitions to the challenged advertisements the Court agreed with the summary judgment of the trial court and dismissed Lorillard’s contract claim.

Ruma Kaushik v. Union of India [India] [June 07, 2006]

A public interest lawsuit was filed against the Government of India seeking the issuance of pictorial health warnings on tobacco products, as required by India's omnibus tobacco control law. The court ordered the government to either submit the prototypes of specific warnings or to appear before the court indicating why it should not initiate contempt of court proceedings against the government based on the lengthy delay in developing the warning labels. Subsequent to the decision, the government issued a notification providing for health warnings.

Brambles Australia Ltd v British American Tobacco Australia Services Ltd; Re Mowbray (No 8) [Australia] [May 30, 2006]

Mr Mowbray died from lung cancer in January 2002. His wife sued Brambles, his former employer, alleging that it had negligently exposed him to asbestos fibres in the course of his work. Brambles consented to judgment being entered against it but then sought contribution from British American Tobacco Australia Services, whose cigarettes Mr Mowbray had also smoked. Brambles alleged that BATAS knew that its products were addictive and physically harmful and concealed its own research and investigations into these matters. Further, BATAS, incompatibly with its own knowledge, made public statements that denied or called into question evidence that tobacco was addictive and harmful. In particular, Brambles alleged that pursuant to the so-called "Document Retention Policies", BATAS: intentionally destroyed prejudicial documents with the purpose of placing those documents beyond the reach of litigants; placed prejudicial documents in the hands of third parties, again to keep them out of reach of litigants; placed prejudicial documents in the hands of lawyers under cover of spurious requests for legal advice to facilitate privilege claims; and falsely asserted an innocent "housekeeping" explanation for destroying prejudicial documents.

In this case, Brambles had applied for orders that BATAS provide further and better discovery. In support of its application Brambles adduced evidence from Frederick Gulson, the Company Secretary and in-house solicitor to BATAS between October 1989 to December 1990, about BATAS's "Document Retention Policies", including by tendering transcripts of evidence Mr Gulson gave in United States of America v Phillip Morris USA Inc. Judge Curtis had earlier excluded excerpts of Mr Gulson's evidence as being the subject of lawyer/client privilege. However, Brambles now argued that those passages should be admitted into evidence on the basis of the "fraud exception" (s125 of the Evidence Act).

Judge Curtis found that, on the present state of the evidence, BATAS in 1985 drafted or adopted the Document Retention Policy for the purposes of a fraud within the meaning of s125 of the Evidence Act. Further, based on the evidence presented by Brambles, it had sufficiently discharged the onus of demonstrating, prima facie, that it could make good its allegations. Judge Curtis therefore made most of the orders for further and better discovery as requested by Brambles.