abusesaffiliationarrow-downarrow-leftarrow-rightarrow-upattack-typeburgerchevron-downchevron-leftchevron-rightchevron-upClock iconclosedeletedevelopment-povertydiscriminationdollardownloademailenvironmentexternal-linkfacebookfiltergenderglobegroupshealthC4067174-3DD9-4B9E-AD64-284FDAAE6338@1xinformation-outlineinformationinstagraminvestment-trade-globalisationissueslabourlanguagesShapeCombined Shapeline, chart, up, arrow, graphLinkedInlocationmap-pinminusnewsorganisationotheroverviewpluspreviewArtboard 185profilerefreshIconnewssearchsecurityPathStock downStock steadyStock uptagticktooltiptwitteruniversalityweb

23 Apr 2015

J.C. Penney Corp., The Children's Place & Walmart class action lawsuit (re Rana Plaza collapse, Bangladesh)

Status: CLOSED

Date lawsuit was filed
23 Apr 2015
Location of Filing: United States of America
Location of Incident: Bangladesh
Type of Litigation: Transnational


J.C. Penney United States of America Department stores
Children's Place United States of America Clothing & textile
Walmart United States of America Supermarkets & grocery



In response to the April 2013 Rana Plaza factory building collapse in Dhaka, Bangladesh, the husband of a worker who died in the collapse and a garment worker who was injured in the collapse (the plaintiffs) filed a class action claim in the US against J.C. Penney Corporation, The Children's Place, and Walmart alleging negligence and wrongful death in 2015. In May 2016, the court dismissed the case.

Factual background

On 24 April 2013, the Rana Plaza factory building in Dhaka, Bangladesh, collapsed killing 1,132 people and leaving thousands more injured. On 21 July 2015, the plaintiffs filed their compliant with the Superior Court of the State of Delaware.

Legal arguments

The plaintiffs argued that the defendant companies were negligent in failing to ensure safe and healthy working conditions for garment factory employees at Rana Plaza.

The court applied the “most significant relationship” test to determine whether to apply Bangladeshi law to the personal injury and wrongful death claims or to rely on Delaware’s statute of limitations law. The court determined Bangladesh had the most significant ties to the facts at hand and therefore had to apply Bangladeshi law, which sets a one year limit on filing personal injury and wrongful death claims. Plaintiffs are outside this limitation.

The negligence and wrongful death claims were decided under the law of Delaware. The case concerned the employer’s alleged omission to act. In such case, the law of Delaware requires an employer-employee relationship between the parties. The plaintiffs argued that, in the context of a supply chain, there were employed as independent contractors to whom the defendant companies owed a duty of care. The plaintiffs also argued that the defendant companies’ ethical sourcing statements establishedtheir duty of care to the workers. The court denied an employment relationship exists between a purchaser and the supplier’s employees, therefore a duty of care does not exist and the negligence claims were dismissed.

Legal Proceedings

On 23 April 2015, the plaintiffs filed their complaint with the Superior Court of the State of Delaware, alleging negligence and wrongful death.

On 18 September 2015 the defendants filed their Motion to Dismiss to complaint, arguing that it was filed after the expiration of the limitations period under the law of Bangladesh.

On 20 November 2015, the plaintiffs filed their Memorandum in Opposition to the defendants’ Motion to Dismiss, arguing that the complaint was timely filed under the law of Delaware and law of Bangladesh.

On 23 December 2015, the defendants filed their Reply Brief in support of their Motion to Dismiss.

On 4 May 2016, the court granted the defendants’ Motion to Dismiss the case.

Court documents

[PDF] Class Action Complaint, 23 April 2015

[PDF] Abdur Rahman v. J.C. Penney Corporation, et al. - Memorandum Opinion, 4 May 2016