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TÜV SÜD lawsuit (re role in Brumadinho dam collapse)

Case profile also available in: Deutsch | Español | Português

Snapshot:

On 15 October 2019, five Brazilians who lost close family members in the Brumadinho dam collapse, and two NGOs filed a law infringement complaint against German auditor TÜV SÜD. The plaintiffs allege that TÜV SÜD is jointly responsible (along with Vale, the owner of the mine) in the deaths and environmental damage due to the collapse of the Brumadinho dam in January 2019.  The company denies the allegations.

On 15 October 2019, five Brazilians who lost close family members in the Brumadinho dam collapse and two NGOs filed a law infringement complaint against German auditor TÜV SÜD. The plaintiffs allege that TÜV SÜD is jointly responsible (along with Vale, the owner of the mine) in the deaths and environmental damage caused by the collapse of the Brumadinho dam in January 2019.  The company denies the allegations.

Excessive water pressure caused the dam to burst, killing 270 people, contaminating the drinking water of thousands of people and causing damage to the surrounding environment. Four months before the dam failure, German auditor TÜV SÜD confirmed the dam’s safety, despite several unfulfilled maintenance recommendations from their Brazilian subsidiary. As early as March 2018, TÜV SÜD’s Brazilian subsidiary, Bureau de Projetos e Consultoria, reported problems with the dam’s drainage. However, its recommendations were largely ignored. Furthermore, during an inspection, TÜV SÜD’s employees noted the dam did not reach the necessary stability factors. Instead of refusing to issue a stability declaration, they utilized new, faulty calculation methods to declare the dam’s safety.

After the dam burst, TÜV SÜD expressed condolences to those affected by the dam burst, but did not offer any compensation or accept responsibility.

 

News items

 - Brazil dam disaster firms to face criminal charges, BBC, 20 Sep 2019

Tüv Süd

- TÜV SÜD responds to allegations it is failing to cooperate with investigators looking in Brazil dam collapse, 1 Aug 2019

European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR)

- Deadly dam breach near Brumadhinho: Affected persons file complaint against TÜV SÜD in Germany, ECCHR, Misereor, Associação Comunitária da Jangada and International Articulation of People Affected by Vale, 17 Oct 2019
- The Safety Business: TÜV SÜD’S role in the Brumadinho dam failure in Brazil, Oct 2019

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