An England court will decide next year whether more than 250,000 people from Espírito Santo are entitled to compensation for victims of the collapse of the Fundão Dam, in Marianas, Minas Gerais.
The claim for compensation for losses resulting from the tragedy that occurred in 2015 concerns more than 700,000 people in total. The class action was filed in 2018, against Anglo-Australian mining company BHP Billiton, a Samarco shareholder. The value of compensation amounts to approximately 230 billion Brazilian riyals for the victims.
The lawsuit was filed in England because BHP Billiton is headquartered in the country, said the senior lawyer at Ruta Advocacy, the corporate collaborator in Brazil for English firm Pogst Goodhead.
“We recognize that the Brazilian legal system has a good set of substantive standards of law. However, when speaking with victims on a daily basis, there is a feeling of powerlessness over what they can achieve in Brazil. The English procedure is an alternative means of achieving this compensation.
Regarding the pending litigation in the English court, BHP has informed that it will continue its defense in this process and completely reject the submissions made in the lawsuit filed in the United Kingdom.
“It is unnecessary because it repeats issues already covered by the ongoing work of the Renova Foundation, under the supervision of the Brazilian courts, and the subject of ongoing legal proceedings in Brazil.”
The mining company also confirms that it continues to participate in negotiations with public bodies in Brazil, “as it is the appropriate place for these discussions.” It also states that it continues to work collaboratively with Samarco and Vale to support the ongoing reform process in Brazil.
He also said that the Renova Foundation has promoted progress in paying individual reparations to more than 429,000 people. “Renova has already disbursed more than R$30 billion in reparations actions, about 50% of which has been paid directly to affected people. In total, more than 200,000 applicants in England’s operation have already received payments in Brazil.
Vale also informed that, as a shareholder of Samarco, it strengthens its commitment to repair the damage caused by the dam collapse, in accordance with the TTAC and TAC Governance agreements, and the agreements signed with the Brazilian authorities and justice institutions for this purpose, which will be implemented is in force.
Procedure in the English court
In 2018, a lawsuit was filed in the English court against the Anglo-Australian mining company BHP Billiton, a shareholder in Samarco.
In the initial application, more than 200,000 people sought compensation for losses caused by the collapse of the Fundão Dam in Mariana, Minas Gerais, at the hands of the mining company Samarco.
The lawsuit, brought by English law firm Pogust Goodhead, already includes more than 700,000 people. More than 250 thousand from the state.
The value of the compensation request amounts to 230 billion Brazilian riyals.
The measure runs parallel to the reparations and agreements already signed in Brazil.
Among the case lawyers’ justifications for filing the lawsuit outside Brazil is that there are precedents in the English court for opening the process where the company’s headquarters is located, and in this case BHP Billiton.
The start of the trial was postponed by the English court at the request of BHP Billiton. Based on the request, the date was postponed to October 2024. The trial is expected to last weeks.
BHP has also sued Vale, which is also a Samarco shareholder, seeking distribution of any potential conviction in the class action against it.
What companies say
BHP has informed that it will continue its defense in this process and completely denies the submissions made in the lawsuit filed in the United Kingdom, which is unnecessary as it reiterates issues already covered by the ongoing work of the Renova Foundation, under the supervision of the Brazilian courts, and the subject of the ongoing legal proceedings in Brazil.
Vale stressed that this is an issue that has been discussed in court and all clarifications are being provided in the process.
As a shareholder of Samarco, Vale has strengthened its commitment to repair the damage caused, in accordance with the TTAC and TAC Governance Agreements, and the agreements signed with the Brazilian authorities and justice institutions, which are in effect.
source: Lawyers, Companies, Tribuna Research and Globo Agency.
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