LANGUAGE

Cremona v. Philip Morris & Ors

The plaintiff brought a claim against the defendants alleging that she had contracted lung disease by smoking their cigarettes. In an earlier order, a Master of the Court had ruled that the issue of whether the plaintiff's claim was statute-barred be heard as a preliminary issue. This was the hearing of the plaintiff's application to have that order set aside.

The plaintiff brought this application because it had become apparent that the hearing of the preliminary issue raised issues that would also be relevant in the substantive hearing of the plaintiff's claim, and moreover because the hearing of the preliminary issue had become complex and unmanageable. For example, a subpoena had been issued to the Department of Human Services which it said related to 55,000 cartons of documents.

Hedigan J agreed with the plaintiff that the hearing of the issue relating to whether the plaintiff's claim was statute-barred should be heard at the same time as the substantive trial, and therefore sat aside the Master's earlier order.

This decision is one of 5 procedural decisions in these proceedings. The plaintiff ultimately discontinued the case. See also: Cremona v. Philip Morris & Ors [1996] VicSC 563; Cremona v. Philip Morris & Ors [1997] VicSC 123; Cremona v. Philip Morris & Ors [1997] VicSC 534; and Cremona v. Philip Morris & Ors [1997] VicSC 552.