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1,163 new plaintiffs join Brazil dam collapse trial in Germany

A trial against a German company after a disastrous collapse of a dam in the Brazilian city of Brumadinho in 2019 now includes 1,170 plaintiffs.

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A trial against a German company after a disastrous collapse of a dam in the Brazilian city of Brumadinho in 2019 now includes 1,170 plaintiffs.

A regional court in Munich cancelled a hearing scheduled for February 1 to account for the fact that the case “has been expanded by a further 1,163 plaintiffs to a total of 1,170 parties,” the court announced on Tuesday.

The plaintiffs’ lawyers had initially only sought damages and a declaration of TÜV Süd’s responsibility on behalf of the affected community of Brumadinho and the surviving dependents of a female engineer.

“The idea was that they would reach a judgement with seven plaintiffs and then settle with TÜV,” a court spokeswoman said. “It will now take at least another six months until a date is set for the trial.”

The plaintiffs in the trial in Munich say that they hope to be awarded compensation in the three-digit million range by the Austro-German TÜV Süd safety inspection group.

They argue that TÜV Süd had given an inaccurate assessment of the safety of the dam.

The retaining wall of an iron ore mine owned by the Brazilian mining giant Vale ruptured suddenly on January 25, 2019, killing at least 260 people in the ensuing mudslide.

A subsidiary of TÜV Süd inspected the dam six months before its collapse and found it to be safe. TÜV Süd denies it bears any legal responsibility for the dam bursting as it says Vale did not comply with the recommendations it made in its safety report.

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