How Culture, Economics and Politics Shape Collective Litigation
Edited by Deborah R. Hensler, Christopher Hodges and Ianika Tzankova
Chapter 3: Smoke signals from the south: The unanticipated effects of an ‘unsuccessful’ litigation on Brazil’s anti-tobacco war
Class action lawyers tend to view litigation as the only vehicle through which their clients can obtain full satisfaction for their grievances. Court judgments, which may include monetary or injunctive relief, almost always constitute the sole objective in a litigation-centered strategy. As a result, once the lawyers have obtained a favorable judgment for their clients, they tend to assume that they have won the war. While this might be true in the ordinary run of cases, sometimes litigation is just one of several battles to be fought in a multifaceted war to obtain redress. This is the case for many claims based on alleged injuries stemming from defective products. Consumer products are subject to government regulation and industry standards regarding their manufacturing, commercialization and distribution. They are also the subjects of media attention, which in turn shapes public opinion. All of these may become the sites of conflict. As a result, the outcome of litigation—albeit important—is not necessarily what determines the overall success or failure of an effort to obtain redress or deter harmful behavior. Sometimes, a party may lose in court but still succeed in advancing their goals. That is precisely what occurred in the case study presented in the following pages.
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