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1 Oct 2019

TÜV SÜD lawsuit in Germany (re role in Brumadinho dam collapse)


Date lawsuit was filed
1 Oct 2019
Date accuracy
Year and Month Correct
Community, Other
Location of Filing: Germany
Location of Incident: Brazil
Type of Litigation: Transnational


TÜV Süd Germany Auditing, consulting & accounting



On 25 January 2019 at 12.28pm BRT, a mining dam operated by Vale S.A. and certified by TÜV SÜD AG´s Brazilian subsidiary collapsed in Brumadinho, Brazil, releasing a wave of 12 million cubic meters of mining tailings – a mud-like by-product of Vale S.A.’s mining activities. The disaster caused the death of 270 individuals as well as social and environmental damage – 10 people are still missing. Multiple proceedings have been filed in Brazil and in Germany. The civil lawsuit filed in Germany include allegations for negligence in operating and certifying the dam and a claim for damages by the victims of the dam collapse and their families. Most proceedings filed in Brazil have Vale S.A. as a defendant. The proceedings in Germany are focused on TÜV SÜD AG.

Legal proceedings

In October 2019, the Municipality of Brumadinho and six individuals related to one of the fatal victims of the dam collapse, filed a lawsuit at Munich Regional Court I (Landgericht München I) against TÜV SÜD AG, the parent company of the TÜV SÜD group. These are the leading claimants. International law firm PGMBM represents around one thousand victims who may be added as claimants in due course.

The proceedings in Germany seek the payment of damages based on of TÜV SÜD AG’s alleged liability under Brazilian tort and environmental law. The unchallenged jurisdiction of the German courts was established with reference to the defendant´s domicile.

TÜV SÜD AG denies it is liable and has, according to claimants' lawyers, refused to engage in mediation. A full hearing on the merits of the case took place on 28 September 2021.

At a hearing in February 2022, over 1,100 claimants were added to the case. A new hearing will take place in mid-2022.