Canada says might appeal U.S. tobacco decision
OTTAWA, July 5 (Reuters) - The Canadian government said on Wednesday it might appeal a U.S. court decision dismissing its $1-billion lawsuit against RJ Reynolds Tobacco Holdings and its subsidiaries.
``We're reviewing the decision. An appeal is not out of the question,'' said Farah Mohamed, spokeswoman for Justice Minister Anne McLellan. ``Certainly we feel that we have a very strong case and we'll have to look at it in that light.''
Ottawa launched the case in December, accusing RJ Reynolds and its Canadian subsidiary, RJR MacDonald, of smuggling cigarettes into Canada, thereby undermining anti-smoking policies and adding to health and enforcement costs.
RJ Reynolds sold its Canadian unit, RJR MacDonald, and other international operations to Japan Tobacco Inc last year, but retained all liabilities that might arise from the smuggling investigation.
U.S. District Court Judge Thomas McAvoy in northern New York state said the lawsuit ran afoul of a 1700s English common law rule adopted by the United States that prohibits U.S. courts from being used to collect another country's revenue. McAvoy handed down the decision last Thursday but it was not made public until Tuesday.