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KiK lawsuit (re Pakistan)

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 deficinecies. 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.

News

- "German court rejects case of deadly Pakistan factory fire", Associated Press, 10 Jan 2019
- “Long-term compensation payment to Baldia Factory fire affectees begins”, 20 May 2018, Daily Times
- “Families of Baldia factory fire victims to receive pension from February; first time a compensation system has been established for families of victims of industrial accidents”, 16 Jan 2018, The News
- “Families of Baldia factory fire victims seek justice in German court”, 5 June 2016 Zubair Ashraf, Express Tribune
- “Pakistan: Resumption of Baldia factory fire compensation talks welcomed”, 30 May 2016, Daily Times
- “Baldia factory fire: Retailer comes under fierce criticism”, 13 March 2015, Express Tribune

 NGOs

- German Court dismisses Pakistani's complaint against KiK, ECCHR, AEFFAA, NTUF & Medico International, 10 Jan 2019
- German Court will hear the case against KiK on 29 November 2018; Pakistani plaintiffs will speak in Geneva, Dortmund and Rome, ECCHR
- [DE]“Klage gegen KiK: Landgericht Dortmund darf Verfahren nicht an Verjährung scheitern lassen!”, 5 June 2018, European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights
- “Forensic video evidence submitted to court in legal action against KiK for factory fire shows minor safety improvements could have saved lives”, 1 Feb 2018, ECCHR, medico international
- “Q&A on the Compensation Claim against KiK”, 19 Dec 2016, ECCHR
- “Supply chain liability: The lawsuit by Karachi claimants against retailer KiK in historic perspective”, 20 Oct 2016, Dr. Carolijn Terwindt, ECCHR on Humboldt Law Clinic Grund- und Menschenrechte blog
- “Landmark compensation arrangement reached on 4th anniversary of deadly Pakistan factory fire”, 10 Sep 2016, Clean Clothes Campaign
- “German Court: Pakistani victims awarded legal costs in case against KiK”, 30 Aug 2016, ECCHR, medico international
- “Forging new legal ground: Why families & survivors of the Karachi factory fire could spell the end of voluntary corporate responsibility”, 16 June 2015, Miriam Saage-Maaß, ECCHR
- “Paying the price for clothing factory disasters in south Asia: Pakistan factory fire victims sue KiK”, 13 March 2015, ECCHR, medico international
- “Second Anniversary of Fire Disaster in Pakistan Textile Factory - KiK stalling on further compensation: Victims prepare to launch lawsuit in Germany”, 10 Sep 2014, Clean Clothes Campaign, ECCHR & medico international
- “Legal action on fire in textile factory in Karachi, Pakistan”, 7 March 2013, ECCHR

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