KiK lawsuit (re Pakistan)
Snapshot: In 2015, a survivor and 3 families of victims filed a lawsuit against Kik, a German clothing retail company, for a 2012 textile factory fire in Pakistan which killed 260 people at the regional court in Dortmund, Germany. They claimed the company should bear responsibility for the fire safety deficiencies. In 2019, the court rejected the lawsuit on the basis that the statute of limitations had expired, the plaintiffs will appeal.
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In September 2012, 260 people died and 32 were injured in fire in Baldia textile factory in Karachi, Pakistan. KiK, a German clothing retail company was the factory's main customer.
On 13 March 2015, a survivor and 3 families of victims filed a lawsuit against KiK at the regional court in Dortmund, Germany, claiming that the company should bear responsibility for the fire safety deficiencies in the Pakistani factory. The lawsuit seeks compensation for pain and suffering caused by the fire for all the affected families, as well as an apology and the company's pledge to ensure safety at its outsourced clothing production facilities. On 30 August 2016, the court accepted jurisdiction and granted legal aid to the claimants. On 10 September 2016, KiK agreed to pay a total of $5.15 million to the affected families and survivors following a negotiation facilitated by the International Labour Organisation. In January 2018, it was announced that, as part of an agreement facilitated by the ILO, families of the victims will get monthly pensions from the amount provided by KiK, starting in February 2018. This arrangement supplements payments to victims by public social security schemes. In May 2018, the families of 209 victims of the Baldia Factory incident started receiving long-term compensation from the amount provided by KiK.
However, the company denies responsibility for the fire and refuses to pay for the damages requested by plaintiffs, asserting that the fire was caused by arson and there were no fire safety issues reported by auditors. In February 2018, a computer simulation from Goldsmiths, University of London’s Forensic Architecture project, showing that inadequate fire safety measures led to the deaths of the factory workers was submitted to the court in Dortmund. The court has commissioned a lawyer from the University of Bristol to deliver a legal opinion on whether the claimants have a right to compensation under Pakistani law as well as on whether the statute of limitations has passed.
On 10 January 2019, the court in Dortmund rejected the lawsuit on the basis that the statute of limitations had expired. The claimants will appeal the decision.
-Deadly Karachi blaze was 'waiting to happen', by Syed Shoaib Hasan, BBC News, 12 September 2012
-KiK: Paying The Price For Clothing Production In South Asia, ECCHR, 10 February 2015