A unanimous opinion by three Supreme Court justices on a NIS 7.6 billion lawsuit by Clalit Health Services dating back to 1998 ruled on Wednesday against the country’s largest health fund, which demanded compensation from foreign and Israeli tobacco company giants for treating members who were victims of smoking.
The three justices did not deny the tobacco companies’ responsibility for harm to the health of Clalit and other insurers’ members. The court stated that Clalit should sue on behalf of each person harmed by tobacco individually, rather than filing a direct action against the tobacco companies.
The case was heard by just-retired Supreme Court justice Ayala Procaccaia, who was given a few months to hand down rulings on a series of uncompleted cases, along with Justice Miriam Naor and Justice Esther Hayut. Clalit was represented by Israel Council for the Prevention of Smoking chairman and lawyer Amos Hausner and Dr. Lipa Meir, who frequently represents the health fund.
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