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350m euro lawsuit launched against supermarket tragedy groups

Jan 24, 2014
From wire reports, RIGA

350m euro lawsuit launched against supermarket tragedy groups

A new 350 million euro lawsuit has been launched against companies involved in the collapse of a supermarket that killed 54 people last year.

The lawsuits are targeted at seven entities altogether - retail trade company Maxima Latvija, construction company Re&Re, developer Homburg Zolitude, real estate company Tineo, Riga City Council, architect bureau Kubs and HND Grupa.

The lawsuit against the Riga City Council is worth 28,457 euros.

The Be Responsible association behind the case says that if it wins the case, 90 percent of the amount, or 315 million euros will be donated to charities, children, firefighters, police, medical workers, teachers and pensioners.

A statement from the group added that more lawsuits would follow in order to remind defendants about their role in the Zolitude tragedy.

In January 2014, Riga Regional Court concluded, reviewing another 100 million lat lawsuit in the Zolitude tragedy filed by the "Be Responsible!" association, that movable and immovable property of "Maxima Latvija", construction company "Re&Re", company "Tineo" that is the owner of the collapsed building, and project developer "Homburg Zolitude" could be attached to secure the claim.

Attorney Aldis Gobzems informed LETA previously that the first suit filed was on behalf of three victims - demanding 50 million lats for one, 40 million lats for another and 10 million lats for the third person suing.

When a reporter pointed out that the police investigation in the tragedy still continues and the guilty have not been established, Gobzems explained that the criminal case would determine the responsibility of individual suspects, whereas his case dealt with "legal entities' responsibility."

"Current practice has shown that it is not us who have to prove that they have failed to do something - it is they who must prove that they have done everything correctly. Under Civil Law, the burden of proof in such cases is diametrically opposite. If a person is convicted in the criminal case, the respective legal entities will be able to take legal recourse action," explained the attorney.

"Any person has the right to fair compensation in a case such as the Zolitude tragedy, but what amount is fair?" Gobzems believes that annual profit is too minimal and therefore not a fair amount.

A total of 54 people, including three firefighters, died and scores were injured when the "Maxima" supermarket caved-in on November 21, 2013.

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