Israel’s Supreme Court has upheld an appeal of a lower-court ruling and made it possible for people exposed to tobacco smoke in public places to file class-action suits, according to a story in the Jerusalem Post.
The Post reckoned that claims against the owners of premises that do not enforce the no-smoking law could total millions of shekels in each case because each individual in the suit would be entitled to a NIS1,000 ‘fine’ against violators.
The Israel Cancer Association (ICA), represented by attorney Amos Hausner, appeared as a friend of the court in the suit, Efrati vs Espresso Bar Ltd.
The district court had reasoned that because an individual can sue businesses, entertainment venues, or banquet halls over tobacco-smoke exposure, it ruled out class-action suits.
But according to the Supreme Court, anyone complaining about second-hand tobacco smoke exposure can make a claim on behalf of other sufferers.
The ICA welcomed the ruling. ‘The association had encouraged private claims and encouraged law students to assist individuals to file such claims,’ it said in a statement. ‘When private lawsuits’ success was only partial, class actions have become an important component in the enforcement of the law prohibiting smoking in public places, which is unfortunately ignored by many business owners…’