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29 Jan 2019

Craig Lockwood & Elie Farkas, Osler

Canadian court dismisses class action lawsuit by Rana Plaza victims; finds no reasonable cause of action under Bangladeshi law

"Ontario Court of Appeal applies foreign law, dismisses cross-border class action", 10 Jan 2019

On December 21, 2018, the Ontario Court of Appeal released its decision in Das v George Weston Limited (“Das”), a proposed class action relating to the collapse of an industrial building in Bangladesh, [also known as the Rana Plaza building]. 

The action was brought against several Loblaws entities (collectively, “Loblaws”) and Bureau Veritas Limited (“Bureau Veritas”), a consulting company retained by Loblaws to audit and inspect its offshore suppliers’ factories…

The Court of Appeal upheld [first instance’s] key finding that Bangladeshi law applied to the plaintiffs’ claims. 

The Court ruled that a cause of action in tort only “crystalizes” once some party is injured. Therefore, because the plaintiffs’ injuries were caused by a building collapse in Bangladesh, the tort crystalized in Bangladesh, and the applicable law or lex loci delicti was the law of Bangladesh…

Having found that Bangladeshi law applied to the plaintiffs’ claims, the Court reviewed the evidence of foreign law experts in order to assess the viability of the claims under Bangladeshi law…[and found] no reasonable cause of action [even under] Bangladeshi law.

It accepted the defendants’ position and dismissed the action in its entirety...