Sep 22, 2014

By Michael Kramer

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Final arguments began today in a landmark case between Quebec smokers and Big Tobacco.

It’s an $18-billion lawsuit – that’s believed to be the biggest class-action ever seen in Canada.

Initially, an estimated 1.8 million Quebecers were involved in the lawsuit – targeting three major Canadian tobacco manufacturers.

The lawsuit was initially valued at $27-billion – but a ruling last year changed the definition of who could qualify.

An estimated one million Quebecers are now suing.

They argue that the companies are liable because they knew they were putting out a harmful product – and concealed the health effects from the public.

The trial stems from two cases that were filed in 1998 and certified and consolidated in 2005 – by the Quebec Superior Court. The case finally got under way in 2012 and heard from 78 witnesses over 234 days.

Closing arguments are expected to last several weeks – and a decision isn’t expected for some time.

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