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Philip Morris Brasil, Souza Cruz lawsuit (re Brazil)

In 1995, an NGO filed a class action lawsuit against Philip Morris Brasil and Souza Cruz (part of British American Tobacco) in Brazilian court alleging they had made misleading statements in their advertising, omitting information they knew about smoking's harmful effects. The court ruled expert evidence showed smoking was one of many risk factors for illness and is not the cause itself. 

 

In July 1995, the Associação de Defensa da Saúde do Fumante (ADESF; Association for the Defense of Smokers’ health) filed a class action lawsuit alleging that Philip Morris Brasil and Souza Cruz (part of British American Tobacco) had made misleading statements in their advertising and omitted information they knew about smoking’s harmful effects, resulting in illnesses and death amongst the plaintiffs and their families.  In the lawsuit, filed in São Paulo Civil Court, ADESF sought indemnification for all “smoking consumers” in the country. 

On 7 April 2004, the court ruled that the defendants had failed to show that smoking cigarettes was neither addictive nor harmful to human health.  The court ordered the defendants to pay R$1000 for moral and material damages to every current and former smoker of the defendants’ products in Brazil – a total of R$30 billion (US$ 18.4 billion).  The defendants appealed the decision.  On 12 November 2008, the São Paulo Court of Appeal overturned the lower court’s decision.  The appeals court found that the lower court violated the defendants’ due process rights by not allowing them to produce expert evidence.  The case was sent back to the lower court for further examination of expert evidence.  On 26 May 2011, the Civil Court denied the plaintiffs’ claims, finding that the expert evidence showed that smoking cigarettes is only one of many risk factors for illness and is not the cause itself.  The court held that the lack of warnings in advertising about smoking’s harms created no liability because Brazilian law does not require such warnings.

- “Brazilian Court Rejects Main Class Action Filed Against Cigarette Manufacturers”, Theo Kratz, Bezinga, 27 May 2011
- [Portuguese] “Juíza nega indenização para associação de fumantes”(“Judge rejects compensation for smokers’ association”), Consultor Jurídico, 26 May 2011
- [Portuguese] “Indenização a Fumante” (“Compensation to Smokers”), Jus Brasil, 19 Apr 2010
- “Appeals court reverses ruling”, Tobacco Journal International, 14 Nov 2008
  
- British American Tobacco: Annual Report 2010: 30 Contingent liabilities and financial commitments
- Philip Morris International: Litigation
- Souza Cruz: Brazilian Court Rejects Main Class Action Filed Against Cigarette Manufacturers, 27 May 2011

Court documents:
- [DOC] [Portuguese] ADESF vence novamente a Philip Morris e Souza Cruz [Second Judgment of the Civil Court], 25 May 2011
- [DOC] [Portuguese] Manifestação Laudos [ADESF comments on experts’ reports], ADESF, 18 Oct 2010
- [PDF] [Portuguese] Laudo médico [Medical expert’s report] 24 Feb 2010
- [PDF] [Portuguese] Apelação [Judgment of the Court of Appeal], 12 Nov 2008
- [PDF] [Portuguese] Contra-Razões de Apelação[ADESF’s appeal], ADESF, 12 Aug 2008 
- [Portuguese] A ADESF vence novamente a Philip Morris e Souza Cruz [First Judgment of the Civil Court] 7 Apr 2004

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