An Ontario court has agreed to extend an order suspending legal proceedings against three major tobacco companies as they negotiate a settlement with their creditors after losing an appeal in a multibillion-dollar case in Quebec.
The stay of proceedings was granted in March as part of the creditor protection process and upheld the following month after some of the companies’ creditors challenged it.
The order was set to expire on Friday, but will now be renewed until Oct. 4.
The companies – JTI-Macdonald Corp., Rothmans, Benson & Hedges and Imperial Tobacco Canada Ltd. – had initially sought to prolong the stay until December but presented a revised proposal Wednesday.
The order was first obtained shortly after Quebec’s highest court upheld a landmark decision that ordered the tobacco companies to pay more than $15-billion to smokers in two class-action lawsuits.
The stay is meant to maintain the status quo while the companies go through mediation with all those who have claims against them, including the class-action members and several provincial governments.
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